Deliveries can be performed using alternate delivery methods of transportation and many solutions are being tested in our cities today. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated some of these tests and will definitely lead to some changes in habits. Here are some examples:
1. Bicycle deliveries (Vélo-cargo)
The City of Montreal has been doing trials with bicycle deliveries since summer of 2019. The shutdown caused by the pandemic has forced many stores to transition to online shopping and bicycle deliveries. This type of service could be extended to many urban areas.
The constraints imposed by the lock-down have also got some groups trying out deliveries by foot. Runners push specially designed carts in Sherbrooke, QC to deliver groceries to senior homes, obviously keeping the distances relatively small.
3. Car Sharing
Just like Uber paved the way to ride sharing for passengers, many companies are working on car sharing solutions where drivers could sign up to perform deliveries. ShipperBee has a combined solution with parcel depot sites that could radically change regional deliveries.
4. Smart lockers
How about no last mile delivery at all? That is the concept behind setting up neighbourhood depot locations where parcels can be picked up by consumers instead of delivered to their homes obviously reducing the number of vehicles driving around. The hives promoted by ShipperBee can provide that kind of solution just like the smart lockers provided by ExpediBox from Magog, QC.
5. Electric vehicle fleets
More and more delivery companies are moving towards electric vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint. It's a slow transition for many but some new players are jumping directly towards full electric fleets. A good example is Courant Plus in Montreal that combines a fleet of electric delivery vehicles as well as bicycles for neighbourhood deliveries.
Now pushing that to the extreme and at a complete different scale, Amazon plans on has ordered a whopping 100 000 vehicles to establish a full electric delivery fleet.
All these solutions have their niche and area of usefulness. A challenge will be to integrate them in the existing delivery ecosystems so that they are properly leveraged, in a similar way that Amazon will do with its planned electric fleet.
With this pandemic upon us and the lock-downs that came with it, our habits are forced to change. It's up to us as consumers to make sure we make the choices that will turn these new habits into long term solutions and in the process building greener and increasingly active communities.