Royal Mail partners with Ford to trial more sustainable, city-friendly deliveries

Royal Mail and Ford have partnered to trial a new city-friendly approach to parcel delivery in Manchester.

The purpose of the trial was to examine whether multi-modal delivery using Ford’s routing software could help Royal Mail to increase its foot-based deliveries of larger parcels in urban areas.

Ford’s software helped Royal Mail to use fewer vans in the trial area. The software enabled several posties to make deliveries with one vehicle supporting them. It identified safe, convenient locations for the handover of parcels to postmen and postwomen who then made deliveries to a mix of high-rise, business, and residential buildings. During the trial, postmen and postwomen used a smartphone app that provided the location of the van and showed the most efficient routes to deliver the parcels. The process resulted in fast and efficient deliveries, whilst maintaining human interaction at the point of delivery, ensuring trust on the doorstep.

The trial took place in the M4 postcode area of Manchester. This is ahead of Manchester launching its Clean Air Zone next year, with daily van charges coming into effect from 2023.

Using Ford’s software - Mode:Link - and specially built parcel trolleys, the trial helped Royal Mail to reduce the number of parcel vans needed in the city centre each day. Ford’s software enabled postmen and postwomen to meet delivery vans at coordinated points and deliver parcels around the M4 postcode area on foot.

During the trial, van usage for the delivery routes involved decreased by 50 per cent, whilst daily vehicle mileage decreased by 33 per cent, resulting in a reduction in CO2e emissions per parcel.

Royal Mail is exploring a range of initiatives, including the use of micro electric vehicles and drones for delivery to remote locations, to use fewer vans in its network. This is alongside maximising the UK's largest "Feet on the Street" network of over 85,000 postmen and women. Royal Mail already has the lowest reported CO2e emissions per parcel amongst major UK delivery companies.

Tom Thompson, Founder, Last Mile Delivery at Ford Mobility, said: “Our software made it possible for Royal Mail to help reduce carbon emissions and congestion in city centres. As we enter the busiest and most magical time of year for parcels, we are delighted to see the results of this trial prove the value of delivery on foot and the effectiveness of Ford's software in making city centres cleaner, greener and safer.”

Achim Dunnwald, Chief Operating Officer, at Royal Mail, said: “Ford’s software enabled Royal Mail to reduce van usage and mileage in the trial area, whilst still offering a prompt and reliable parcel delivery service. At Royal Mail, we are continuously looking at opportunities to reduce our emissions, alongside delivering convenience to our customers.”

Source: Royal Mail Group

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