The projected five-year LoCITY programme has been running since 2016, with plans to evolve and adapt throughout the second half of its course. Its aim is to help commercial vehicle fleets comply with the Ultra-Low Emission Zones that will be in place in central London next April. |
These new exhaust emission standards will require courier work to be exclusively carried out in vehicles that meet the requirements, potentially resulting in higher running costs. Thankfully, LoCITY have recognised these concerns and are implementing changes that will support the courier work industry, among others.
Making sure there was enough interaction between programme organisers and courier operators was the first issue to be addressed. The scheme has now been placed within TfL’s city planning function, which allows better communication with commercial industries to develop policies and offer direct support. The team has also launched a ‘Facts and Fiction’ website to share knowledge concerning alternative fuels for commercial vehicles. This also helps to answer FAQs and dismiss any myths held within the industry. Additionally, the programme organisers have considered visiting leaders in the delivery industry to offer them, and their companies as a whole, further guidance and support as they progress towards the implementation of ‘greener’ fleets.
The City of London has been trialling various fuels across its fleet and is currently testing electric tractors and an electric RCV. Their transport technical officer announced that maintenance costs have been dramatically reduced thanks to the external support received. With LoCITY’s guidance, companies with large fleets can be better advised on how to approach vehicle and fuel conversion, which will hopefully result in a cleaner and more efficient process.
Larger companies in the courier work industry have set themselves promising deadlines to encourage the conversion of their fleets to zero-emission. IKEA, for example, has said that 100% of its 5,000 deliveries a day will be zero-emission come the year 2025 and they are encouraging other large retailers to set themselves similar challenges.
The long-term goal is to have all delivery and courier work undertaken with zero-emission vehicles, meaning that HGVs will also soon have to convert. Although this is attainable, it will be a dramatic change so will have to make sense both environmentally and commercially. While it would be a huge step forward to have electric HGVs, the high costs may introduce a bigger problem for the industry. Electric batteries are barely cheaper to buy than they are to run, so alternative options such as hydrogen and other synthetic fuels are currently being explored.
The government’s Road to Zero strategy is rather ambitious, requiring all vans and cars to be zero-emission by the year 2040. With enough support, however, a greener transport industry could definitely be obtained.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.
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