With the rise of e-commerce, amplified by the health crisis, logistics finds itself at a crossroads. Without real changes and optimization of processes and vehicles, environmental risks will only increase. By 2025, parcel delivery will have to take place using clean vehicles and algorithms. But not only.
Logistics and pollution: a worrying observation and reasons for hope
The logic of the void is undoubtedly the darkest point of current logistics. Thus, according to a article from Les Échos, the ecological cost of void results in:
- The dispersion of 122 million tonnes of CO2 if only in maritime transport. If we add trucks on dry land, the meter explodes.
- The loss is then evaluated at 4 billion euros per year, caused by void…
The entire supply chain deserves to be reviewed through innovative solutions. In this regard, many startups offer algorithms to optimize routes. This includes modernizing urban and peri-urban flows between warehouses parcels via management software and applications. Especially since limiting miles also means drastically reducing costs.
New players in the sector, for example, manage to automate by algorithm the selection of the appropriate own vehicle and the courier's route in order to optimize routes as much as possible. At the same time, they put in place urban hubs to bring packages closer to their customers on the principle of “proximity as a service”.
New modes of transport of the last mile
Today, city centers and hypercenters are becoming less and less passable by car following successive laws and decrees to limit pollution. The LOM law (mobility orientation law) notably encouraged low-emission zones (ZFE). Furthermore, in Paris by 2030, thermal engines will have completely disappeared from the streets. Therefore, delivery and transportation companies have no choice but to look for decarbonized modes of transport for the last mile:
- Pedestrians for short distances between a delivery point and a home, or when the customer collects their package from a locker. This device is already being tested and is working well.
- Bicycles, with a backpack for small packages.
- Cargo bikes / tricycles with a sort of trailer to deliver around twenty or thirty packages depending on their size.
- Electric vehicles for heavier or bulkier packages.
Because it is better to satisfy customers with green promises that provide a real service. Likewise, with regard to delivery slots, which require very complicated logistical gymnastics, they must exist, but with non-polluting vehicles. And, therefore, within a restricted area.
Over a longer distance, from warehouses to delivery points, progress is still difficult. And for good reason, only charging stations for electric cars are experiencing an increase in France. CNG (ecological fuel gas) and hydrogen are still poorly distributed across the territory, unlike other European countries such as Italy and Germany, as highlighted LSA.
In all cases, e-commerce and delivery professionals will have to change their scheme to correspond to the autonomy of their own delivery methods. At the same time, e-retailers will have to pool their deliveries. This way, delivery people will fill and empty their eco-friendly trucks and cargo bikes as they go. From then on, they will eliminate the void that costs so much...
E-commerce companies will have to, more broadly, modify their processes. Today, for example, the more expensive and bulky the products purchased, the less simple delivery is. When it should be the opposite.
Furthermore, if drones and autonomous vehicles will take a significant part in the years to come, this will require a lot of people. Because contrary to what we think, with the very significant growth that e-commerce will still experience, logistics will need to heavily recruit to organize it. From now on, companies must train for the delivery professions of tomorrow and anticipate labor shortages. But this won’t happen without a need for flexible hours.
In any case, these new logistics models will meet the economic needs of the months and years to come. But the entire sector must also anticipate future consumption patterns without delay. Because its role is also to convince e-commerce customers to opt for greener deliveries.
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