The Ford Pro commercial vehicle business, City of London Corporation and DHL Supply Chain are currently concluding a sustainable delivery trial at London’s historic Billingsgate Market to explore ways to reduce traffic and improve air quality.
Launched in March and continuing until August, 40 traders at Billingsgate are taking part in the trial, which focusses on deliveries from the market to commercial customers in the capital, including some of London’s most prestigious establishments.
Many traders rely on vans to make these deliveries, but for much of the day these vans are not in use. The City Corporation identified the opportunity to consolidate trips, which avoids duplicating journeys and requires fewer vehicles.
Funded by the City Corporation, which owns and manages Billingsgate Market, the trial uses Ford vehicles, software and servicing support from the company’s Ford Pro commercial vehicle division1 and DHL Supply Chain expertise.
The 18-week collaboration has revealed significant opportunities to benefit both businesses and the environment. There has been an estimated 37 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions compared with business as usual, from 949 fewer vehicle journeys on central London’s congested roads resulting in 15,000 less miles driven. This has also supported reduced costs and improved efficiencies for participating businesses.
This trial is part of the City Corporation’s aim to reduce the environmental impact of its wholesale markets through innovation, including the planned relocation of Billingsgate, Smithfield and New Spitalfields markets to Dagenham Dock. Electric vehicle charging has been installed in the market car park.
Billingsgate traders’ case studies
Youssef Archi is director of Ish Seafood. The stall has been trading in Billingsgate since 2015 and supplies fishmongers in and around London. The business used to run its deliveries using two vans.
“The delivery service is now getting better and better, so we’re not using our vans anymore. Before, every time we got a new customer we needed a new van, which was just more headache for us. Now, we can just focus on getting more customers.”
Mark Button is managing director of Barney’s Billingsgate Ltd, a jellied eel and shellfish wholesaler that has been trading for 60 years at Billingsgate. The stall’s main customers are restaurants and shops, fishmongers and homes in and around London.
The pilot has helped to attract new customers.
“I don’t usually take on new customers that aren’t on my existing routes. Now, I can send the parcels via the delivery service and they arrive the same day. It’s cheaper than customers coming here and cheaper than me doing it. It can only be better for the environment that we use fewer vans. I would use a multi-drop-off service.”
Jeff Steadman is director of Chamberlain & Thelwell Ltd. The company has been supplying hotels and restaurants in and around London since 1981. Steadman runs his own fleet of vans, sometimes delivering fish two or three times a day to the same customers.
“With the markets moving forwards, London’s moving forward. Many major cities are going greener by 2030 and electric is coming into play. To have a dedicated service is a very good thing for the market. Customers will be very interested when we go fully green with electric vehicles. Everybody needs to reduce their carbon footprint.”
Chris Hayward, policy chairman at the City of London Corporation, said: “Our historic wholesale markets have been serving Londoners for hundreds of years. But to face up to the climate challenge, we cannot continue with business as usual.
“This pilot has proved that using different modes of delivery not only reduces emissions and traffic, but can also offer a better service to both our market traders and their customers.
“Our Markets Co-location Programme – which is set to co-locate Billingsgate, Smithfield and New Spitalfields at Dagenham Dock – offers many more opportunities for innovation in low-carbon transport and for greatly reducing the number of road journeys to and from the markets.”
Tutu Akinkoye, GoGreen lead for DHL Supply Chain UK & Ireland, said: “We’re delighted with the results of the trial, which support our approach to not only ‘burn clean’ through the use of sustainable alternative fuels and drivetrains, but ‘burn less’ by reducing the energy and fuel consumption of our operations.
“We’re equally delighted with our engagement with the traders and partners, and the future direction that this strategic project offers customers of London’s wholesale markets – the wide choice of goods, the range of delivery options, and the more sustainable way in which products will reach the restaurants, wholesalers and consumers in and around the London area.
“Most exciting of all is the solution is replicable in other cities facing similar challenges, both in the UK and globally.”
Hans Schep, general manager of Ford Pro in Europe, said:
“Bringing our expertise to bear alongside that of City of London and DHL Supply Chain has clearly shown how Ford Pro’s software-driven, sustainable solutions are solving problems for our customers – in this case helping the historic fish market combine its deliveries for greater efficiency and to help reduce congestion.
“Ford Pro makes it easy for businesses to boost their productivity while operating more sustainably as we support their transition towards an electrified future.”
The seven refrigerated Ford Pro vehicles, including an all-electric Ford E‑Transit, are equipped with sensors that feed real-time data into Ford Pro Telematics and Ford’s Liive connected uptime system to support fleet managers in monitoring the efficiency, condition and health of their vehicles.
This connected vehicle data helps Ford Fleet Management monitor and manage remaining oil life, AdBlue levels and tyre pressures to reduce the likelihood of unscheduled downtime. Fleet managers are also alerted to punctures or windscreen damage and can schedule required servicing and repairs around operating hours to minimise the impact on productivity.