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May 27, 2019

KoMoDo city hub project in Berlin: It works! It's fun!

The KoMoDo one-year project in Berlin is a city hub that enables the shift of goods from trucks to cargo bikes, replacing vans in last mile delivery. There was a lot of press around the project when it was introduced.

The results are now in, and the main conclusion is "Es geht"! Project manager Andreas Weber says: "It works. City-compatible delivery traffic is possible". 160 000 parcels have been delivered by 11 cargo bikes in an area with a radius of 2-3 km. Noise levels and emissions have been reduced and there have been less double parked vans in the streets.

We at Velove did a mid-term project evaluation ourselves, where we heard this from Martin Schmidt, managing director of Cycle Logistics, service partner to DHL and Hermes:

"In general, it is a challenge to find staff for the CEP (Courier, Express, Parcel) industry. This also goes for some high capacity cargo bikes. But it is not that hard to find couriers who wants to ride the Armadillo! It is a sexy bike, “ein echter Hingucker"!
One container has enough capacity for around 50 stops. With two containers on the semi-trailer, we get 100 stops which is enough for a full working day. The format and design of the containers makes it easy and fast to find and get the right parcel at each stop. Depending on the customer density in the delivery area, we reach up to 15-20 stops/hour. We would like to see a couple of upgrades, but it is already a very good solution for this type of deliveries."

A video from Hermes shows Martin himself in action:

Another interesting story comes from the Berliner Morgenpost now when the project has run for a year:

In the old world of work, parcel delivery agent Andreas Butzengänger got into his fully loaded vehicle every morning, drove off, got stuck in a traffic jam and lost time in the search for parking lots. The 52-year-old Berliner worked like that for three years. Twelve months ago, Andreas Butzengänger's career changed radically. The courier became part of the pilot project "Komodo", which was to test the delivery of parcels in Prenzlauer Berg by freight bike. Butzengängers Conclusion after one year: "It's fun!"

Velove had Armadillos with two out of five operators at project start, at the end we had three. For this we would like to especially thank our fantastic maintenance partner in Berlin, Jacob at BlueCargo. He kept the Armadillos rolling and this, together with positive courier reports, was enough to win one more customer over during the project. We have on our side continued to develop what we call "Uptimization", to do what we can in supporting our maintenance partners to keep the bikes rolling.

So, is there nothing negative to say from the project? Well, yes, it is worth mentioning that we have heard that some couriers take riding on the pavement as a habit. This is of course not the idea. The Armadillo has been developed specifically for bike paths, and it is there or on the street they shall be ridden. The pavement can, in our opinion, be used for stopping for a few minutes to do the delivery.

Following the success of the pilot project, 3-5 new city hubs are planned to open in Berlin in 2020. We are excited to not only be a part of extending the scope of cargo bike deliveries, but also make it even more convenient and productive. Stay tuned! :)





KoMoDo group photo: Michael Zander

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