This initiative is part of an ambitious sustainable development plan drawing on the learnings from a successful pilot project in Mechelen.
bpost group launched its “Ecozone” pilot project in Mechelen in July 2020. The goal is to reduce the impact on the climate and quality of life in the city of parcel, letter and newspaper deliveries. Even as parcel volumes continue to rise sharply, the company has now achieved its aim of delivering all letters and parcels with zero emissions in Mechelen.
Based on this success and the learnings bpost has taken from the pilot project, the city of Mons and bpost have decided to open Wallonia’s first Ecozone in Mons city centre. This is currently being fleshed out, with zero-emission parcel and letter deliveries expected to be achieved within a few months.
This fits in perfectly with bpost’s strategy of emphasizing sustainable operations and employment, and processes that protect the planet. After this second launch, the first in Wallonia, Ecozone sustainable urban logistics projects are also set to launch this year in other city centres in the three regions of Belgium.
“bpost engaged to honour the Paris climate agreements back in 2015. We are constantly developing innovative new solutions to reduce our ecological footprint and the impact of our activities,” says Paul Vanwambeke, urban logistics director at bpost. “The city of Mons shares the same environmental ambitions. We soon found common ground for setting up a sustainable distribution project in the city centre.”
Soft transport modes and proximity
Back in 2019, bpost selected Mons as trailblazer city for the electrification of its fleet based in Ghlin. Sixteen diesel vehicles have already been replaced by electric cars. New vehicles are to be added to the fleet in due course. The services will be consolidated in Mons city centre, where a significant share of the rounds is done by mail carriers on foot. In the future they will also use electric trailers To deliver parcels, newspapers and letters to homes. The electric vehicles will be used to distribute letters and parcels to mail carriers for delivery on their rounds, as well as for deliveries to pick-up points and post offices.
The company’s ambition is to achieve zero-emission delivery of letters and parcels in Mons city centre. By maximizing the use of a green fleet, mail carriers on foot with an electric trailer and a large number of pick-up points, bpost limits both the number of vehicles on the road and the total distance driven in the city centre.
Citizens in the Ecozone can also take advantage of a hybrid proximity network, comprising nine pick-up points: five new parcel locker sites, three post and parcel points and Mons post office. This ensures optimal service coverage and proximity (always a pick-up point within 500m), which means that addressees can pick up their parcel without taking the car.
Petra De Sutter, Federal Minister for the Post: "I would like to applaud this collaboration between the City of Mons and bpost. Today is an important new step, and the development of bpost's Ecozones sets the tone for future methods of mail and parcel delivery, which will be respectful of our environment and our planet. In addition to human contact and the proximity and accessibility of services, we want bpost to play a pioneering role, particularly in the environmental field. My ambition is to make public authorities and companies leaders in innovation and ecology.
"I would like to thank bpost for this great project which positions Mons as the first Walloon city to benefit from a more ecological management of its vehicles", underlines Nicolas Martin, Mayor of the City of Mons. "This project reinforces the policy of the City of Mons in favour of a better ecological transition and a better quality of life in the city. Everyone knows the importance of Bpost, whose major centre is located in Ghlin, as a local service and given the number of journeys made by workers, the reduction in CO2 emissions will be more significant."
The Deputy Mayor of Mobility, Charlotte De Jaer, adds: "This is a great project, an ambitious project, the result of an excellent collaboration between the City of Mons, bpost and the Minister of Public Enterprise, Petra De Sutter. The Ecozone will enable us to cope with the boom in parcel deliveries caused by the success of online shopping, while at the same time pursuing our policy for a calmer and less polluted city centre.
What bpost has learned in Mechelen:
- The use of pick-up points has increased month on month.
- There was minimal use of cars to get to pick-up points: 83% of Mechelen residents go to pick up their parcels on foot or by bike. Of the small number of respondents who did take the car, two in three combine the pick-up with another journey (supermarket, school or work).
- 81% of users covered less than 500m to get to a parcel locker station.
- High satisfaction rating: All age categories are represented among users, who rate themselves very satisfied, particularly because of the sustainable aspects of the service.