One year after the official launch of parcel deliveries by transport bike in Nuremberg – part of a pilot project under the technical management of the Nuremberg Institute of Technology – DPD Germany is highly satisfied with the results. The international parcel and express service provider has so far already delivered 80,000 parcels by transport bike – free from harmful emissions. Thanks to the use of five electrically assisted transport bikes it has been possible to replace five conventional delivery vans almost completely. Encouraged by this positive experience in Nuremberg, DPD will be launching further deliveries by transport bike and has already begun operations in Heilbronn. Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart and further cities will follow in the course of the year. In Hamburg DPD has been operating a number of electrically powered transport bikes since the beginning of 2017.
"In the dense traffic of the inner city the transport bike has developed into a real alternative to conventional delivery vehicles”, explains Gerd Seber, Group Manager Sustainability & Innovation at DPD Germany. "In view of possible impending access restrictions, the development of such sustainable city logistics solutions is becoming ever more important. Our positive cooperation with the City of Nuremberg indicates that shared operational procedures adopted by the municipality and parcel services are good for everyone – not least for city centre businesses and residents."
Since the start of the Nuremberg pilot project DPD has increased the number of transport bikes in operation from three to five. The bikes are based at a so-called "micro-depot" in the city centre. This is a 130 m² business facility in the centrally located "Nürbanum" business park in Nuremberg South. Here the parcels for the transport bike tours are delivered by van every morning and then distributed among the bikes. For this purpose the micro-depot is connected online to the DPD IT system. The batteries of the bikes are also charged at the micro-depot and – in particular during cold weather – the delivery personnel always carry a replacement battery with them.
"Even in wintry conditions we can fully rely on our transport bikes", explains Torsten Mendel, DPD Depot Manager in Nuremberg. "However, operating entirely without conventional vehicles is not yet possible. We need the usual transporters not just to make deliveries to our micro-depot, but also to serve major business customers in the city centre." If combined skilfully with conventional delivery vehicles, under favourable conditions the transport bike has almost the same capacity as a van: "In many of Nuremberg's streets we can make deliveries much more efficiently with our highly manoeuvrable transport bikes than with large vehicles." In Nuremberg South five transport bikes and four conventional delivery vehicles operating jointly can now cover an area which was previously served by nine conventional vans. The transport bike is used in particular for those consignees who only receive one or two parcels a day, while stops involving a large number of parcels are served by delivery van.
The technical support from the Nuremberg Institute of Technology for deliveries by transport bike has now come to an end. The "pilot project for sustainable city logistics by CEP services based on the micro-depot concept within the city of Nuremberg" began its practical phase in March 2017, after a comprehensive technical analysis. The project was supported among others by Bavaria's Ministry of Internal Affairs, Construction and Transport as well as the City of Nuremberg and the Nuremberg Chamber of Commerce for Central Franconia. Last October the pilot project was awarded the VCÖ Mobility Prize as a "model international project" by the Austrian Public Transport Association.
Emission-free deliveries by transport bikes in more and more cities
This year DPD intends to extend its deliveries by transport bike significantly. Apart from Nuremberg and Hamburg, in the course of the year transport bikes will spread to Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg, Heilbronn, Rostock and further cities. The application of electrically assisted transport bikes requires a precise initial analysis of suitable delivery areas, as well as the development of an individual logistics concept for the specific city. As a rule the transport bikes need to be supplied from a centrally located micro-depot, as is the case in Nuremberg. Gerd Seber, Group Manager Sustainability & Innovation at DPD Germany, explains: "Finding suitable and affordable locations in the city centre represents a decisive obstacle to the use of transport bikes, and we would therefore appreciate further support from the municipalities for this purpose. We hope that positive examples set by Nuremberg, Berlin or Rostock will act as a model for other cities."
Carbon-neutral parcel shipping for all – without additional costs to the customer
Within the context of its group-wide DrivingChange™ sustainability programme DPDgroup is committed to providing all customers with carbon-neutral parcel shipping – at no additional cost. For this purpose DPDgroup applies a combination of three interrelated principles: measuring, reducing and offsetting. DPDgroup is a world leader in offsetting harmful emissions on a voluntary basis. In the year 2016 alone, DPDgroup compensated for 863,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents. This makes up almost 5% of all of the CO2 emissions which were voluntarily offset within Europe. At the same time the group is continuously reducing its CO2 emissions per parcel. As early as 2016 it achieved its target of cutting emissions per parcel by 10% on the figure for the year 2013.