Synergies, strategies & sustainable solutions

20 December 2021 - Published by Deirdre Buist
On 17th December, the SURFLOGH consortium held an online pre-Christmas gathering, the first in a series of innovation labs organized and chaired by our partners at SEStran. The focus was on exchanging knowledge, experience and ideas - creating new synergies with external parties who are also designing green logistics strategies and solutions.

Following a round  of introductions, the session opened with a  presentation by our partners from the City of Groningen. Sjouke van de Vlugt gave a concise synopsis of what the SURFLOGH project has undertaken over the past years, with a useful summary of lessons learned from the various pilots regarding policy framework, hub and delivery locations, sustainable business models, and combining local and national freight logistics. 

DHL's committment 

Participants were then treated to a highly interesting presentation by DHL Supply delegates who shared not just  the corporate approach but also their national and regional commitment to finding sustainable logistics solutions for all facets of delivery services. DHL is focusing on science-based targets for carbon reduction and investing billions in clean technologies. The company aims to deploy 80,000 last mile e-vehicles  (60% electrification of the fleet) by 2030, for example.


EAV trials

DHL UK is currently supporting  the last-mile solutions trials of EAV, a visionary transport company with enabling, innovative vehicle solutions. Their trials in Scotland will test a range of vehicle options, using  e-cargo bikes or complementing these with other last-mile delivery vehicles.  These combined vehicles are also allowed on bicycle paths, for instance, but can go quite a  distance too. By developing strategic partnerships with organizations like SEStran, the company aims to  learn more, optimize reloading processes, identify suitable inner city hub locations and create new interactions.

Hackathon winners 'Good Neighbours'

Next to take  the online stage were the winners of SURFLOGH's recent COP26 Climate Change Challenge Hackathon on 5th – 7th November. Digital design students Taylor Clem and  Adam White shared  their idea for a ‘Good Neighbours’  approach to the challenges resulting from  the huge increase in online consumerism, particularly the number of repeated courier visits per address in residential areas. This last aspect is the focus of their ‘Good Neighbours’ solution.

Designing the 'Prcl' app

The cost of  repeat deliveries has been calculated to be around 700 million GBP and 75,862 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. Using Personas, the team created the ‘Prcl’ app - essentially a collection of neighbours within a particular area, including their willingness and availability (time slots) to receive online orders for those not at home at the predicted delivery time and showing pickup possibilities. The design team are currently following their product roadmap - validating research data, improving their understanding of the consumer dynamics, defining the core problem and further developing the app for launch.

The Perth West development

Last but not least, the participants were introduced to  Perth West’s future development plan by spatial planner Mark Richardson. The small Scottish city of Perth is currently planning an expansion westwards which also involves adapting the energy and mobility infrastructures. Sustainable logistics is inherent to the context.


SURFLOGH's drone pilot 

The spatial designers are looking for suitable governance models to test new and innovative ideas. With SEStran’s mediation, the Perth West project will initiate a drone pilot in the coming months, together with the Province of Drenthe, as part of the SURFLOGH project’s extension.

Building further on existing knowledge

By the end of the afternoon, animated discussions  brought multiple synergies to light. The participants recognized some great opportunities to test  findings from earlier SURFLOGH pilots in terms of e-consolidation, the development of multi-functional hubs and our existing business models within a broader context, thus building on existing knowledge.

As we gradually close down for the festive season, we can look forward to new and exciting SURFLOGH initiatives in the new year.

For now, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2022!   It will get better!

 You can access the presentations from Groningen and DHL here.