Transforming the Last-Mile with Zedify’s Zero Emission Deliveries

Sep 23, 2022

Over the years, sustainability has become an important consideration in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Heightened competition in the industry has also put pressure on retailers and their logistics partners to respond to consumer demands for brands to become advocates and champions of such values. The urgency to make last-mile logistics more sustainable is greater than ever as the world struggles with COVID-19 and more frequent natural disasters.

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In the latest episode of our Unpacking E-commerce Logistics series, we were joined by Rob King, CEO & Co-founder of Zedify to discuss transformations in last-mile, including the importance of innovative and consolidated zero-emission deliveries pioneered by his team. With years of experience in the field, Rob explained in detail the sustainability trends in logistics and shared with us the journey of Zedify.

Sustainability Trends in the Last Mile Space

The importance of sustainability is rising in the last-mile industry, especially as customers become more conscious of how their purchases affect the environment and society. This change in customers’ expectations has encouraged several retailers and logistics companies to invest in technologies and innovations to lower their impact on the environment and society. 

According to Rob, the first trend we can see clearly is the replacement of diesel vans with electric vans as soon as possible. Additionally, many firms are considering carbon neutrality as an offsetting measure. Having said that, Rob highlighted how carbon offsetting or diesel replacement alone would not be sufficient, and that the key is to get to the root of this emission and resolve it. Rather than simply switching one mode to another, he suggested transforming the city's delivery system from the ground up instead.

The trend of weariness of greenwashing is also noteworthy. A large logistics company was recently found to have 1000 new electric vehicles and about 3000 new diesel vans, according to some investigation. As a result, despite their efforts to achieve zero-emission targets, the overall carbon footprint has increased.

Zedify’s Journey to Zero-Emission Deliveries

The fact that logistics hubs are frequently located many miles outside of the city, according to Rob, is one of the major issues with the current model in the UK. At those distribution hubs, packages were put onto vans or trucks, which then zipped up and down on highways and motorways. And as soon as they get into the city, they are snarled up in traffic and struggle to locate a parking space. In actuality, they are large vehicles and would have a significant negative social and environmental impact. Therefore, Zedify utilizes micro hubs on the periphery of that urban setting to address these issues. In fact, this might resolve the vehicle issue and bring delivery closer to the final consumers. 

Additionally, they are exploring adopting electric cargo trikes and four-wheel electric cargo bikes, which can navigate around cities more readily. These vehicles can get closer to the customers and give the delivery process more flexibility. Despite having only half the volume of a small van, a cargo tricycle can travel more frequently during the day. As a result, they can deliver twice as much with a cargo tricycle as they can with a compact van.

Usage of Low-Impact Cargo Bikes and Trikes for Delivery Work

Delivery impacts on the environment and society can be reduced by using low-impact cargo bikes and trikes. It does, however, have a lot of drawbacks, much like many other approaches. The ideal vehicles for short-distance and local deliveries are cargo bikes because they are considerably closer to the final users than other types of vehicles. Naturally, it's a wonderful option for metropolitan environments, but these bikes and trikes would not work well for delivering goods on highways or other major thoroughfares. 

As a result, the biggest obstacle Zedify faces is that they can only operate well in dense urban locations, while their rivals use vans and trucks that can be used on both highways and in cities. But it cannot be denied that city dwellers prefer low-impact cars and trucks to stench-filled, filthy trucks. Additionally, the local government plays a role in setting up the environment and infrastructure necessary to make it more challenging for a standard diesel van to run and to greatly increase the potential for micro vehicles.

For the full discussion, check out the video here. You wouldn’t want to miss it!

About Rob King

Rob King is the co-founder and CEO of Zedify, a zero-emission delivery service operating in 10 UK cities that was launched on clean air day 2018.  

Zedify is transforming the way deliveries are done in cities by providing a service for businesses that enhances their brand, reduces cost and is helping to create the healthier, more liveable cities of the future. The company operates from 10 UK hubs on the edge of cities, consolidates deliveries and uses a fleet of electric cargo bikes for the first and last mile to reduce congestion, improve air quality and provide businesses with the flexible and reliable deliveries they need.

Rob will be speaking at the upcoming Leaders in Logistics event on 3 October, titled Last Mile 2022, where you can explore the latest innovation and transformation in the final stage of e-commerce fulfillment and delivery. 

About Unpacking E-Commerce Logistics Series

Unpacking E-Commerce Logistics brings together some of the best experts in the e-commerce logistics and supply chain space to unpack key concepts from a variety of trending topics, ranging the use of Artificial Intelligence in the industry to embracing hyperlocal delivery in the e-commerce world. An integral part of this series are our 30-minute long Fireside Chats where we ask our thought leaders questions about not just the topic at hand, but also their career paths, challenges they have faced, and even their future plans.

For more exclusive reports, insights, and interviews on the latest updates in e-commerce and logistics, follow us on LinkedIn or join our community as a member.


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