The City of London Corporation, DHL Supply Chain and Ford Pro are conducting a sustainable delivery trial at London’s historic Billingsgate Market to explore ways to reduce traffic, improve air quality and offer a better customer experience.
Launched in March and continuing until August, 40 traders at Billingsgate are taking part in the trial, which focusses on deliveries from the market to commercial customers in the capital, including some of London’s most prestigious establishments.
Many traders rely on vans to make these deliveries, but for much of the day these vans are not in use. The City Corporation identified the opportunity to consolidate some of those trips, which avoids duplicating journeys and requires fewer vans.
Funded by the City Corporation, which owns and manages Billingsgate Market, the trial is being run using DHL Supply Chain and Ford Pro vehicles, software and servicing support.
The 18-week collaboration has revealed significant opportunities to benefit both business and the environment. There has been an estimated 37 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions compared with business as usual, with 949 fewer vehicle journeys on central London’s congested roads resulting in 23,961 fewer kilometres driven overall. This has also supported reduced costs and improved efficiencies for participating businesses.
This trial is part of the City Corporation’s aim to reduce the environmental impact of its wholesale markets through innovation, including the planned relocation of Billingsgate, Smithfield and New Spitalfields markets to Dagenham Dock. An electric vehicle charging point has been installed in the market car park.
Billingsgate traders welcome DHL Supply Chain trial
Youssef Archi is Director of Ish Seafood. The stall has been trading in Billingsgate since 2015 and supplies fishmongers in and around London. The business used to run its deliveries using two vans.
“The delivery service is now getting better and better, so we’re not using our vans anymore. Before, every time we got a new customer we needed a new van, which was just more headache for us. Now, we can just focus on getting more customers.”
Mark Button is Managing Director of Barney's Billingsgate Ltd., a jellied eel and shellfish wholesaler that has been trading for 60 years at Billingsgate. The stall’s main customers are restaurants and shops, fishmongers and homes in and around London.
The DHL Supply Chain pilot has helped to attract new customers.
“I don’t usually take on new customers that aren’t on my existing routes. Now, I can send the parcels via the delivery service and they arrive the same day. It’s cheaper than customers coming here and cheaper than me doing it. It can only be better for the environment that we use fewer vans. I would use a multi-drop-off service.”
Pilot proves prioritising sustainability can offer 'better service'
Chris Hayward, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said: “Our historic wholesale markets have been serving Londoners for hundreds of years. But to face up to the climate challenge, we cannot continue with business as usual.
“This pilot has proved that using different modes of delivery not only reduces emissions and traffic, but can also offer a better service to both our market traders and their customers.
“Our Markets Co-location Programme – which is set to co-locate Billingsgate, Smithfield and New Spitalfields at Dagenham Dock – offers many more opportunities for innovation in low-carbon transport and for greatly reducing the number of road journeys to and from the markets.”
Tutu Akinkoye, GoGreen Lead for DHL Supply Chain UK and Ireland, said: “We’re delighted with the results of the trial, which support our approach to not only ‘burn clean’ through the use of sustainable alternative fuels and drivetrains, but ‘burn less’ by reducing the energy and fuel consumption of our operations.
“We’re equally delighted with our engagement with the traders and partners, and the future direction that this strategic project offers customers of London’s wholesale markets – the wide choice of goods, the range of delivery options, and the more sustainable way in which products will reach the restaurants, wholesalers and consumers in and around the London area.
“Most exciting of all is the solution is replicable in other cities facing similar challenges, both in the UK and globally.”