Cyclelogistics and last mile delivery: opportunities, figures and initiatives
The increase in e-commerce and the consequent goods delivery has led to the creation of a new neologism within the world of transport: last-mile delivery, or last-mile logistics, the step at which the package arrives at the buyer’s door.
It’s the most time-consuming part for companies in terms of customer satisfaction and costs. That’s why businesses are racing to develop new technologies to improve this process. One of the new methods that could revolutionize the future of the last mile is precisely cyclelogistics: an opportunity to combine goods and services delivery with a new smart city model, in which the key figure is sustainability.
The new needs of last-mile delivery
In the last blog post In the last article we talked about how logistics linked to the huge development of e-commerce is having an important impact on the environmental and social aspects of our cities.
Data leave no trace of doubt: urban transport is directly proportional to congestion and bad air quality in our cities. The demand for online shopping grows constantly and changes the same transport planning: smaller loads, more frequent orders, widespread movements. Needs that cannot be satisfied by traditional means such as vans. What is the solution?
Cyclelogistics as an opportunity across past and future
The solution has a name: cyclologistics has its roots in the past, or rather in the discovery of the two wheels. The bicycle, in fact, was a fundamental means of transport and delivery since the late nineteenth century, then enhanced by the arrival of tricycles. They were then replaced at the dawn of mass motorization, but today an alarm bell rings: how could they be confined to a simple means of private transport? The bicycle, combined with new technology, could really save the world!
The first American pioneers enthusiastically passed this model on to Europe: in Italy, in Milan, the first cycle delivery service was born, the Urban Bike Messengers (UBM), couriers on the saddle of a bike who carry not only parcels, but also an important environmental message.
Today, cycling tools range from simple bicycles to so-called Cargo Bikes. CityChangerCargoBike (CCCB) cycling guide has classified their shapes and models, up to a maximum load of 400 kg. Even better if these Cargo Bikes are electric!
| Keep reading: Cargo Bike Market |
Cargo bikes are responsible for 100% sustainable deliveries, with no emissions and no road congestion, with access to all areas, including pedestrian ones. If we then consider that the green economy wants to put the person back at the center, we’re on the right track: cycling has a completely “human-centered” approach in which the vehicle does not dominate the person, but vice versa.
The state of the art: City Changer Cargo Bikes, a Europe-wide initiative
From the precursors of the CycleLogistics projects, City Changer Cargo Bikes (CCCB) was born, the European project that aims to foster the great potential of Cargo Bikes, both at public and private level. Funded by Horizon2020, the European project brings together 22 partners, including city administrations, research institutes, NGOs and companies from across Europe that are committed to implementing more sustainable mobility options on a large scale.
According to a survey of Cargo Bike core brands, the growth of this sector is projected to increase by 66% over 2021 (compared to 2020 – figure presented at EUROBIKE in September).
Furthermore, electric models made up 92% of Cargo Bike sales in the year 2020.
The rise of Cargo Bikes is in sight, but most deliveries are still made by motorized vehicles: 77% of deliveries that take place in cities today could be made by bicycle, based on the principle that these transports involve weighing less than 200 kg per cubic meter and distance under 7 km without too many intermediate stops.
But cyclelogistics can not only fit fully within delivery, it is also a huge opportunity for its socio-economic role.
Cyclelogistics as an economic and social multiplier
According to Legambiente L’A Bi Ci report on bike economy, cyclelogistics could be an enormous economic multiplier and generate a turnover of over 6.2 billion euros. A strategic sector! Which has its GDP.
If we also take into consideration the savings in fuel and health, the reduction of environmental and acoustic impacts, the maintenance of infrastructure costs and land consumption, then we can well understand how this figure multiplies.
But not only data: cyclelogistics and bike economy are a powerful tool for social inclusion, whose value is really difficult to calculate. A truly inestimable value.