Amazon is planning to swap lorries for bicycles with the opening of a micro mobility hub in Hackney that will support around a million deliveries a year to the local area.

The aim is to replace traditional van delivery with a fleet of cargo bikes and on-foot deliveries by staff. Working with the London Borough of Hackney, Amazon says that it expects to make more than one million customer deliveries from the new warehouse every year.

(c) Amazon

Apart from reducing local pollution by swapping road vehicles for cargo bikes, Amazon will be reducing road congestion but is also avoiding paying congestion charges that apply to road vehicles. That cost saving is likely to be offset by higher costs from hiring more staff to ride the smaller capacity bikes and do the on-foot deliveries.

Amazon says that its fleet of zero-emission vehicles will expand further as more e-cargo delivery hubs are expected to launch across UK in the coming months.

Cllr Mete Coban, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “Tackling transport emissions is key if we’re to reach net zero. We’re really pleased to have worked with Amazon to support them to take traditional vans off the streets and replace them with e-cargo bikes. This will help to reduce emissions and improve air quality for people in Hackney and beyond.”

The use of local delivery hubs is growing in popularity, with larger vans delivering to a single point, and then a fleet of smaller electric vans and cargo bikes handling the last-mile delivery to the end customer.

Better Bankside has recently set up such a scheme offering storage space in a railway arch, while the ongoing Vision for Soho is looking at the possibility of using a local car park as a delivery hub in off-peak hours. The City of London is exploring similar ideas at Finsbury Square and London Wall.

Hackney is also already supporting a cargo bike hire scheme for individuals and small firms, with a trial supplied by Beryl that opened last year, and Wandsworth is also about to launch a similar scheme.

There’s also the rise of local lockers for deliveries that are in effect a microdelivery hub, albeit it one where the customer goes to the hub to collect the parcels, but it still has the effect of reducing the need for a van to drive around side streets dropping off parcels to each house in turn.

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7 comments
  1. Simon says:

    I get the concept of these bikes and they are becoming more regular around London however does the driver need to order the doors from Amazon in order to have more protection from the elements?

    • Alistair Twin says:

      Simon.. it’s not like postmen haven’t been walking outside for a few years. And cyclists. London isn’t really that wet a city, and as the saying goes, there is no such thing as bad weather just inappropriate clothing.

  2. harry says:

    Local lockers are good for convenience, especially for those who work during the day, but I’m not sure they help the environment much.

    Let’s suppose each locker bank handles ten parcels a day. Yes, that’s ten less journeys for the delivery vehicle. But the chances are that 7 out of 10 recipients will drive to the locker and back when they collect the parcel. So, that’s 14 point to point journeys, instead of a single route with 10 stops that can probably be optimised to involve less road miles.

    Even that assumes the parcels can be picked up from a locker, but in my experience amazon seems not to allow two thirds of its sellers to use the lockers.

    • ianVisits says:

      “But the chances are that 7 out of 10 recipients will drive to the locker and back when they collect the parcel.” <-- I find that exceptionally difficult to believe unless people are so exceptionally lazy that they would drive to a corner shop instead of walk for a few minutes. I certainly have never seen anyone drive to a locker in the years I moved around London when renting and used the local lockers when available.

    • Alistair Twin says:

      Harry.

      What makes you think so many people drive to lockers? They are pretty well spread out already and in places like hackney it will almost certainly be quicker to walk / cycle to one vs trying to find a parking space (twice).

      To be honest I think more people use the services where they are dropped off at local corner shops etc.

  3. Terry Jones says:

    Wonder if drivers will be more vulnerable to have-a-go theft? Drivers can’t protect themselves from people with knives when they have no enclosed cab/lockable door.

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