DHL launches new city logistics pilot scheme

DHL Express is piloting a scheme which could see increased use of cargo bicycles in urban areas.

Its latest innovation is the ‘City Hub’, a trailer which can carry up to four containers, with each container having a capacity of up to 125 kg and 1 cu m in volume (dimensions match those of a standard pallet).

The operating model is that a DHL van delivers the City Hub trailer into an urban area, where each container is then loaded on to a separate DHL Cubicycle (pictured) which performs last-mile deliveries. If necessary, the trailer can also be reloaded with outbound shipments.

Each City Hub has the potential to replace two standard delivery vehicles. DHL has launched pilot schemes of the concept in Frankfurt, Germany and in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

John Pearson, CEO, DHL Express Europe, commented: “DHL Express has already replaced up to 60% of inner-city vehicle routes in some European countries with cargo bicycles, and we expect that the City Hub and Cubicycle will both help us to accelerate this approach in other markets over the next 3-5 years”. He added: “Bicycles offer a number of advantages in express delivery operations: they can bypass traffic congestion and make up to two times as many stops per hour than a delivery vehicle. The total cost of ownership over their lifetime is less than half of a van. And crucially, they generate zero emissions, which reinforces our own ongoing program to minimize our environmental footprint and supports city governments’ efforts to promote sustainable city living.”

DHL’s Cubicycle was developed in the Netherlands and first introduced to its network in 2015. Since then, the company has introduced bicycles in more than 80 European cities in 13 European countries. Cubicycle couriers cover on average 50 km per day.

Source: Deutsche Post DHL Group