When refrigerated products are delivered using a mobile cooler with electric transport, there are no CO2 emissions. It also reduced the number of transport movements in Amsterdam during a trial initiated by Dutch Leen Menken Foodservice Logistics and Rijkswaterstaat this spring. The test took place in Amsterdam Zuid. Further research and deploying multiple mobile cool boxes may improve the results.
Last Mile Box (LMB)
Leen Menken and Rijkswaterstaat collaborated with the municipality of Amsterdam and Foodlogica for the trial. Leen Menken had a mobile cooler developed, the Last Mile Box (LMB). From a fixed location in Amsterdam South, consumers and restaurants received their orders from Foodlogica’s bicycle couriers.
The trial provided information on route time, mileage, savings in CO2 emissions, and the effect on a closed cold chain. In addition, the initiators gained insight into the use of electric vehicles and their application in delivery to different target groups, such as the type of customers (consumers, businesses, and catering), scalability, and costs.
Less CO2 emissions
Because there are no more CO2 emissions during delivery from the Last Mile box, Leen Menken’s total CO2 emissions in the Amsterdam region decreased by 21% during the trial period.
On a trip with a cargo bike during the pilot took an average between 15.5 and 21 minutes longer than if the same trip had been driven with a van with a higher average driving speed. Before the pilot, it was assumed that cargo bikes could travel at an average speed of 16 mph. However, the travel speed of cargo bikes proved to be lower in practice, so during the pilot, the planned speed for cargo bikes was adjusted to 10 km/h on average.
Despite the lower travel speed of a cargo bike compared to a van, the difference in trip time with vans was relatively limited because cargo bikes were able to use bike lanes, avoid busy roads, were not affected by traffic jams, and certain entry restrictions for cars do not apply to cyclists.
During the pilot, the planned mileage of a bicycle route did turn out to be lower than if it had had to be driven with a van. The difference was, on average, between 1.1 and 6.4 kilometers less for a cargo bike than for a van. An important factor here is that the bikes can travel right through the city center, reducing the distance.
By deploying the LMB in combination with cargo bikes, the number of kilometers driven has decreased, and the A10 ring road is spared. In this way, the pilot contributes to achieving the goal of reducing the number of transport movements.
Solar panels provide energy to cool the mobile cooler. During the trial, it turned out that the LMB could maintain its temperature. Foodlogica’s cargo bikes were refrigerated. The cold chain remained well closed while delivering chilled products to consumers and the catering industry.
The study shows that the cost of using cargo bikes is much higher than for deliveries by van per stop and per kilometer. The cost per kilometer during the pilot was 5.9 times higher for a bicycle delivery than a van delivery. The cost per stop was 2.3 times higher for a bicycle than a van during the pilot. This is because the vans drive out more stops in the same number of hours and also cover more miles.
The trial showed that adjustments are needed to the route planner software and the size and maneuverability of the cargo bikes. The deployed bikes cannot handle frozen deliveries. They also proved unsuitable for larger deliveries to the catering industry. The trial consisted of one mobile cooler. The box appears to work well and is used as a mobile hub, but it can also be used for direct deliveries to the catering industry in combination with a small electric truck. This concept can easily be scaled up to multiple boxes at different locations in Amsterdam.
Read the summary of the research report here.
Source: Leen Menken