Last mile delivery has long been considered the most expensive, pollution generating, and inefficient part of the supply chain. Predominantly dominated by diesel or petrol-guzzling vehicles, this sector of the transport industry is changing in response to the changing expectations from consumers and merchants.
Existing fleet vehicles are being replaced, and new fleets of clean and efficient electric utility vehicles are being created to meet the challenges and demands of a changing world. Whether it is direct-to-consumer (D2C) or business-to-business (B2B), speed, security, flexibility, and costs play a significant role in the success or failure of last mile delivery.
The Changing Landscape Of Last Mile Delivery
The typical supply chain comprises three stages of distribution. These stages include long-haul, regional, and urban distribution. Last mile delivery vehicles carry out the last step, moving products from regional distribution centres to the final destination; the urban consumer or retailer.
The biggest challenges that the last mile delivery sector is facing includes:
Increasing demand for small and more frequent deliveries and collections categorised as just-in-time distribution.
A rise in eCommerce due to the convenience of online shopping and its adoption by the elderly, who are following the path of younger generations that have already adopted an online lifestyle.
According to the Royal Mail, parcel deliveries are increasing by 4.5 to 5.5% per year. This is a significant trend for urban transport and delivery to keep up with. However, last-mile delivery companies have a few things on their side that will help them adapt and manage greater workloads.
Light urban electric vehicles and electric utility carts are governed by less stringent regulation, compared to HGVs, in terms of driver hours and licensing. This means that urban delivery fleets can expand without the problem of a shortage of HGV drivers, which affects regional and national delivery.
The Impact Of Electric Last Mile Delivery Vehicles
The impact of electric last mile delivery vehicles on the environment is small, with zero-emissions. Congestion in town centres can be eased as eCommerce grows with one vehicle making multiple deliveries, compared to numerous customers collecting and carrying goods home in their cars. This can positively impact the safety and the environmental impact of getting goods to consumers.
Furthermore, personal deliveries to the workplace reduce failed delivery attempts, which according to a review commissioned by the UK government’s Foresight Future of Mobility project, sees 14% of home delivery attempts fail.
As local authorities continue to introduce measures to reduce the number of petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles entering urban areas, electric last mile delivery appears to be the solution we are looking for.