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A race between last-mile delivery companies to be emission-neutral 

A race between last-mile delivery companies to be emission-neutral
A race between last-mile delivery companies to be emission-neutral

Many last-mile delivery companies in Europe and the US are placing a foot firmly on the accelerator to chase expectations of zero-emission, electric last-mile deliveries in cities. 

There is a growing market for zero-emission last-mile delivery. Be it through sustainable packaging, clearer transportation with bikes, or zero food waste. 

The race is on to get delivery companies to zero-emission before giant shippers do the same. 

The ‘worst idea’

Offering instant delivery is the “worst kind of promise you can make in terms of occupancy, traffic, and emissions,” Eleonora Morganti, a researcher at the University of Leeds, tells Shifted.

“In theory, the idea of delivery is good if you compare it to having multiple people with multiple cars driving to a supermarket on the outskirts of a city,” Morganti tells the publication.

She believes bringing the last mile of goods closer can save emissions. “Compared to the model built in the 1990s or 2000s, where people would drive 10 miles to a supermarket on the outskirts of town, it’s more sustainable.”

Clock is ticking for investment

It’s a stiff contestation for delivery giants to invest millions of dollars into their sustainable delivery solutions. Others geared for sustainability include Liefergrün, Zedify, and DutchX. They are tapping into the need of retailers and customers to use companies geared towards going green and saving the planet. 

Popular brands like H&M, Adidas, and Weekday use German company Liefergrün, a sustainable solution for last-mile delivery. It developed a sustainable delivery concept that relies on e-vans and cargo bikes. Liefergrün has raised €15 million ($16 million) in funding over three rounds. It is said to raise more funds in the next year. 

In the UK, Zedify is used by popular brands like Zara, Brighton Bier, and Wogan. Zedify aims to cover 20% of the UK’s sustainable delivery needs by 2025. More than 80% of Zedify’s deliveries were completed by cargo bikes last year. Each cargo bike delivery saved more than 350g of carbon compared to a diesel van. Over three rounds, it has raised £6.5 million ($7.8 million) in funding. 

DutchX will make massive eco-friendly improvements in New York City. According to Reuters, DutchX will use a ferry to transport packed containers into Manhattan before loading them onto electric cargo bikes. It’s also reporting that its revenue could rise by more than a third to around $40 million this year.

Shippers are hot on delivery companies’ hills 

FedEx is targeting 2040 to reach its zero-emission delivery fleet, while DHL wants to turn 60% of its delivery fleet to be electric by 2030. According to Reuters, Amazon wants 100,000 electric trucks on the road in the next seven years. United Parcel Service hopes 40% of its delivery vehicles use alternative fuel in the next two years. 

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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