UPS: lessons learned on the path to sustainable urban logistics

Major European cities have become a testing ground for the next phase of city delivery for UPS. UPS Chief Information and Engineering Officer Juan Perez talked about the future of the UPS network; how they are integrating technology to connect the facilities, fleet, drivers and information systems fueling a more sustainable global network.

Cargo bikes

In Munich UPS introduced Eco Hubs, essentially mini distribution centers in the city center. The three Eco Hubs are loaded with the day’s packages then dropped off in a central location in the city. UPS drivers then deliver from the container using electrically assisted cargo bikes to make zero-emissions deliveries – and with much less noise.

UPS pioneered this model in Hamburg when the city approached us for logistics solutions that would work in the city’s pedestrian-only zones. In collaboration with the city and the local retailer association, UPS piloted this program in 2012 and have since replicated the model in other cities across Europe and most recently in Dublin. It didn’t take long in Munich for UPS to see the benefits. It was faster, more efficient and more in sync with the businesses and residents.

Together with Fernhay, Skotkonung, and the University of Huddersfield, UPS is now piloting the use of electrically powered trailers, which carry up to 200 kilograms when attached to a cargo bike; low impact logistics.

Smarter charging

While electric vehicles have many advantages, charging them has been a challenge for UPS. There are limits on the amount you can charge at once on an electric grid, and it’s expensive to upgrade electrical infrastructure. These challenges didn’t deter our partners in London. UPS reached out and formed a consortium with UK Power Networks and Cross River Partnership to design a solution. They came up with a new charging technology that expands DHL’s electric fleet without upgrading the electrical grid. The technology helps UPS route power to charge vehicles based on demand needs of the facility, enabling UPS to continue to work toward their first all-electric city fleet in London.

Source: UPS


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