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August 30, 2018
Johan Erlandsson

DHL Express taking the next step in city logistics containerisation

DHL Express electric cargo bike last mile solution
Velove Electric Cargo Bike for Last Mile Delivery Photo: DHL

DHL Express are taking the next step in rolling out a fully containerised last mile delivery process, starting in the Netherlands. On August 11:th, there was an opening ceremony of a container handover point in Groningen, the Netherlands, with professional cyclist Bauke Mollema riding the Armadillo (called Cubicycle within DHL). This containerised process is now rolled out in more dutch cities:

Velove electric cargo bike last mile solution
  • 1 m3 containers are pre-loaded at parcel sorting terminals outside the city center
  • The containers are transported by motor vehicles to handover points in city centers
  • At the handover points, the containers are quickly and safely transferred to last mile delivery vehicles, and the courier have all information about the contents in her/his hand unit. The last mile delivery vehicles used are Velove Armadillos (called Cubicycles within DHL) and electric vans. Which type of vehicle that is chosen depends on the last mile delivery zone.
  • Last mile delivery is made
  • Empty containers (possibly also with returns or picked up parcels) are returned to the hand over point
  • The containers are transported back to the terminal by motor vehicle

The containerised delivery process enables the cost efficient and secure transfer of goods between terminals, motor vehicles and specialised last mile delivery vehicles. Parcels are sorted and handled only once in the delivery process, at the sorting terminal. This also makes it economically viable for the last mile delivery vehicle to refill during the work day, as the distance to return the empty container and pick up more goods can be minimised, and the transfer of the goods is fast and secure.

The Armadillo electric cargo bike is designed for use in the bike infrastructure, with maximised accessibility and minimised negative impact for other cyclists. This is achieved by a width of only 86 cm (less than family cargo trikes), a height that is low enough for other cyclist to keep most of their traffic overview and a suspension and agility that enables the Armadillo to keep up with other cyclists.

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