London riverboat deliveries to Guy’s Hospital

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust started a pilot with a daily riverboat delivery. This service would help Guy’s and St Thomas’ work towards reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 and support the Mayor of London’s aim to reduce the number of lorries and vans entering central London in the morning peak by 10% by 2026. The Trust has teamed up with CEVA Logistics and Livett’s Group to trial the service on the River Thames.

If the proof of concept pilot is successful, the service will operate on a larger scale, removing trucks from the capital’s roads while providing a reliable delivery route into London during the day. The Trust’s three delivery trucks currently travel around 1.500 miles per week. For each truck removed from the road, approximately 708 kgs of CO2 could be saved per week.

The riverboat pilot service will run twice a day, five days a week. Parcels will be loaded onto the boat at Dartford International Ferry Terminal in Kent, before making the journey to Butler’s Wharf Pier in London. The parcels, which include clinical supplies for operating theatres, will then be transported by Absolutely, the final mile delivery partner, on electric cargo bikes to Guy’s Hospital.

Where logistics operations in London are concerned the route to zero net emissions and low carbon is complex and more a marathon than a sprint. A holistic and joined-up approach is required across the entire supply chain from supplier to consumer, involving all the intermediary partners.

In 2019, the Trust worked with CEVA Logistics to open a consolidation supply chain hub in Dartford which has reduced the number of daily truck deliveries onto the hospital sites by 90%. The Trust is also planning to introduce a fleet of large electric trucks to deliver consolidated deliveries from the supply chain hub. This initiative followed the switch to cargo bikes when transporting blood and tumors for testing between Guy’s Hospital and St Thomas’ Hospital, which replaced vans and motorbikes.

James Trimmer, planning & environment director at the Port of London Authority, said: “This innovative scheme is another great example of the river’s potential as a green superhighway. It’s a win-win situation; the tidal Thames can help rebuild the economy post the pandemic and both reduce carbon emissions and air pollution in the capital.”

Source: Cross River Partnership and photo: Livetts Group

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