UPS and Dublin innovate to reinvent sustainable last mile deliveries

An innovative walking and cycle-based system for optimized deliveries in city centers was launched in Dublin. Operating out of micro hubs and combining powered e-Walkers and e-Quad cycles, this model allows for last-mile deliveries that don’t add to local emissions or congestion, enabling a change in the way goods are delivered in busy city locations.

Funded by Dublin City Council, Enterprise Ireland, and Belfast City Council, the solution was developed as part of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) challenge that sought new approaches to optimize deliveries. Partner Fernhay, an innovative design, and manufacturing consultancy developed the new zero-emissions delivery solutions.

E-walker and e-Quad

The e-walker and e-Quad operate from “urban package eco hubs” that UPS operates. The eco-hubs take in larger consignments of deliveries and redistribute them to walkers and cyclers using removable Cube containers. There are already two of these mini distribution centers up and running in Dublin which has facilitated the removal of five diesel vehicles from the road, reducing carbon emissions by up to 45%.

Screenshot 2020-07-16 at 08.07.30

Reimagining last-mile logistics.

Fernhay’s eWalker and eQuad are part of a wider system that enables key workers to deliver groceries, medicine, and parcels without the use of vans. Cities are facing challenges to respond to ‘social distancing’ with pavements widened outside shops and roads narrowed to make more space for walking and cycling. This system offers a clean and viable option and rethinks how cities can support last-mile deliveries now and in the future.

UPS International Sustainability Director, Peter Harris, said: “This is about reimagining last-mile logistics. Cities need solutions that eliminate emissions and congestion and this system achieves that. But it goes further. The ability to load the box that the eWalker and the eQuad carry anywhere within our network will help UPS operate more efficiently. Taking this concept of removable containers, long since practiced in long haul freight, into the urban environment is a game-changer and furthers UPS’s long-standing commitment to bring its customers sustainable solutions.”

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