The London Light Freight Walking Trial, a trial of walking freight for last mile logistics, has been launched by UPS and the Cross River Partnership.
Taking place in Fitzrovia in the London borough of Camden, the trial aims to replace light goods vehicles (LGVs) with porters who transport freight on foot using an electric-assisted trolley (pictured above).
Artur Drenk, International Sustainability Director at UPS, said: “We are excited to introduce the electric-assisted walkers, developed by Fernhay, to the streets of Fitzrovia as part of our efforts to serve our customers in urban areas in a more sustainable way.”
The ‘e-walkers’ will be used to deliver packages to local residents and businesses on a daily basis for the duration of the trial. Having officially started on 5 May, the trial is set to last until September 2024.
In May 2022, the Cross River Partnership conducted a study into the feasibility of walking freight as a last mile delivery solution. It found that urban areas, for example in London, could see a number of benefits as a result of turning to walking freight for deliveries and collections. The main positives identified were decongestion, decarbonisation, improved air pollution, improved noise pollution, reduced road danger, and reduced road wear.
According to the study, the financial gain of these positive outcomes could result in a saving of £37 million per year – a calculation that the Cross River Partnership considers “a conservative estimate”.
The Walking Freight Feasibility Study also found that adopting walking freight as a means of last mile logistics could reduce the distance travelled by LGVs in Greater London by 0.4%.
Fiona Coull, Senior Programme Manager at the Cross River Partnership, said: “Walking freight has real potential to reduce congestion and improve air quality, particularly in central, high-density locations such as Fitzrovia. We look forward to understanding the impacts of the trial, as it’s really important to explore these innovative logistics solutions and share any learnings gained.”
For more on sustainable logistics, check out Logistics Manager’s morning and afternoon coverage of the Sustainable Supply Chain Conference and look out for a feature all about this topic in the July issue of Logistics Manager Magazine!