Service logistics on the cargo bike: these are the lessons so far

The service technician emission-free into the city: the idea is great, but how does that turn out in practice? The Board is investigating this together with the AUAS and a number of companies in the Service Logistics via Hubs project. The first results are very promising. "It was not really difficult to convince the management."

A quarter of all delivery vans in the city are service vans. Drivers have to deal with high parking costs. With a lack of parking spaces; sometimes they only find one at a ten minute walk from where they need to be. Or they are on the road for half an hour to the next address, which is only three kilometers away. Frustrations about this go hand in hand with high costs for their employers and with a lot of unnecessary CO2 emissions in the city.

As a mobility challenge lead, I speak to many companies where this is everyday practice. Take Mark Berger , project and business developer at landscaping and landscaping company Hoek. He knows this problem like no other. “Our landscapers often drive large cars with trailers through the city and cannot easily find a parking space. This reduces productivity considerably. In addition, the municipality is working hard to remove ten thousand parking spaces in the center and the idea is that city logistics completely emission-free by 2025. Those are quite a few challenges. “

As the initiator of the Green Deal ZES MRA , I came in contact with Berger six months ago. And that is how the Service logistics project came about via hubs. The goal: to investigate whether and how new logistics concepts cost the aforementioned frustrations e n be able to limit emissions, in keeping with the emission-free city centers of the future. DOCKR Mobility and service company Feenstra also joined the project group, as well as the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, because this project is closely related to the AUAS project Gas on Electric .

“In that project we link service companies to providers of zero-emission solutions,” says AUAS researcher Susanne Balm , with whom I have a lot of contact. “We look at how they can best organize their logistics, we evaluate the behavior and attitudes of employees and we think about new business models around this, and how we can scale them up successfully.”

In April, various service companies completed a questionnaire, which collected ideas for pilots. This resulted in five interesting possible solutions, one of which was further developed into a pilot: installation company Feenstra is now testing Dockr’s electric freight bikes from the hub of moving company Deudekom in Duivendrecht. And, just a tip of the veil: this trial is very promising.

Mechanics on the e-cargo bike

The human aspect turned out to be the most difficult in this pilot, says Remco van den Beld , chain manager at Feenstra. “A bus or car is often a kind of status symbol for a mechanic. It is not easy to get someone like that on a bike. That’s why we included the mechanics in our plans from the start. For example, we organized a day on which they all bikes from Dockr themselves. We showed that they certainly had a choice. Most technicians are now very enthusiastic. “

The business case for the pilot was completed quickly, says Van den Beld. “It was not really difficult to convince the management. We have twelve mechanics continuously driving around Amsterdam. Parking there quickly costs 7.50 euros per hour and you also have to deal with half an hour of travel time from one to another. The other address. An additional advantage is that we can now also send the boys we train ourselves, but who do not yet have a driving license. They are very enthusiastic. Just like the customers, by the way. “

A few conditions applied to the hub required for the pilot: mechanics had to be able to park their car and drink a start-up coffee. That’s how the company ended up at Deudekom.

Good rain gear

The pilot requires a different way of organizing. “We have to do much better work preparation, because you don’t always have everything with you,” says Van den Beld. “In addition, we have to provide good rain gear and the mechanics receive a fixed amount per day to be able to have lunch somewhere inside. Normally, of course, they mainly did that in their van. I am curious how the mechanics will experience the winter period.”

The pilot is reason for Feenstra to investigate further. “Whether we can organize our journeys in the city differently, for example, and plan more intelligently. And whether we can also place cars at the hub, so that the mechanic can change if he has to go further away. This project in Amsterdam is a prestige project, the mechanics are enthusiastic, it buzzes throughout the organization. If it works well, we will also do this in other branches. “

Less green waste

At Hoek they are not sitting still either, Berger recently told me. “For us it is a bit more complicated: we cannot just switch to the cargo bike because we also have to bring tools with long handles and sometimes also green waste. We also have older employees, who we have to take with us step by step. I hope that over a year a few of our gardeners drive through the city with cargo bikes or a small electric vehicle. “

Five AUAS students are currently conducting a survey at the company to see how future transport can be organized there. In the meantime, Berger also maintains close contact with the other companies in the project. “We learn from each other and inspire each other. For example, Brinck Meettechniek has made agreements with a few eateries in their pilot area in the city, so that employees who normally have lunch in their bus can sit there dry and have a warm drink. we can work together in this way, because little help is coming from the municipality. Even though they are taking those measures. I think that’s a shame. “

In the long run, companies will no longer have a choice because of these measures, says Balm of the AUAS: they have to get moving. In the Gas on Electric project, the researchers are trying to find out what works and what doesn’t work and under what conditions it remains pleasant to work for the employees. “The great thing is that all participants are willing to share their experiences: providers of solutions, but also the service companies themselves. Everyone has a small piece of the puzzle in their hands. By putting all those puzzle pieces together we can find out what it is. works best. “

From the Board, we will of course continue to work hard on smart and clean city logistics, so if you have any ideas about this: I’d love to hear from you. And don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to be kept informed of our progress.

20 October 2020

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