The innovative service has been introduced as part of DHL's commitment to using blended transport modes to improve access to urban areas and is an important step towards exploring the use of the river for small scale freight transport.
The riverboat service, operated by Thames Clippers Logistics, will run daily at 7:30am, transporting packages into London. The shipments will be loaded from electric vehicles onto the riverboat at Wandsworth Riverside Quarter Pier before travelling at high speed along the Thames into central London, docking at Bankside Pier for final mile delivery on DHL courier bicycles.
DHL has proven the effectiveness of combining land and waterways through its established canal delivery network in Venice, but the service in London represents its first high speed service.
Ian Wilson, Chief Executive UK&I, DHL Express said: “With heavy traffic and poor air quality becoming an increasing problem in urban areas like London, we're committed to finding a better blend of transport. This new and unique service, combining electric vehicles, riverboat and last-mile bikes creates fast and efficient access across the capital.”
Sean Collins, CEO, Thames Clippers Logistics said: “We’re thrilled to be facilitating this service alongside DHL. The river is a widely under-used natural source of transportation and as we have demonstrated over the last 21 years with our passenger services, the river has opportunity to innovate and evolve - this new high-speed parcel delivery service is a great example of this. As a business we strive to maximise the uses of the river as a mode of transport and will continue to reduce congestion on London’s roads.”
Robin Mortimer, Chief Executive, Port of London Authority said: “This project opens up the movement of small parcels as a new and potentially substantial area of river use. The shipment of bulkier freight by river already takes more than 200,000 HGVs off the capital’s roads every year. A river boat and emission free last mile delivery is a great innovation and the ideal combination for the city’s next evolution.”
David Panayiotou, Head of London River Services, TfL said: “Without the Thames London would not have become the city it is, so it is great to see it playing its part in the city’s economy in this new and innovative way. The reduction of lorries on the road complements our existing measures to improve road safety, and we are pleased to be part of an initiative that provides the consistent journey times that are so crucial to the successful delivery of parcels.”
The riverboat service is the latest addition to GoGreen, DHL’s group-wide environmental protection program. GoGreen is the cornerstone of DHL’s sustainability work and focuses on reducing and avoiding emissions of greenhouse gases and local air pollutants. Within this is Mission 2050, targeting a reduction of all logistics-related emissions to zero by the year 2050.