Cargo bikes can be last-mile delivery solution for cities, hears new lobby group

16/07/2012 Bike to Work

Over 30 companies from across Europe have joined forces to form the European Cycle Logistics Federation. During an event in Cambridge at the weekend, members of the newly formed federation discussed ways to improve urban delivery and will act as a lobby group to promote cycle-based delivery solutions.


Rob King, founder of the Cambridge-based cycle delivery company Outspoken Delivery which hosted the event, said:

“As a group we will be able to influence and convince stakeholders that freight bikes are a feasible option for delivering cargo in congested inner city areas. More cargo bikes delivering goods means less trucks in city centres and safer, liveable streets for people.”

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert said:

“Cambridge, which has the highest number of cyclists riding to and from work and school in the UK, is a fitting place for such an event. Any changes that we can put in place to allow freight to be carried by bike have to be worthwhile. This idea has the potential to take vehicles off our roads, easing congestion and cutting carbon emissions. As a keen cyclist, it was very exciting to hear more about such great work.”

Profesor Rachel Aldred, who directs the University of East London’s Sustainable Mobilities Research Group attended the event and said:

“It’s fascinating to be here in the early days of a new logistics paradigm. I see a knowledge community taking shape, defining and addressing shared challenges.”

Participants at the event shared knowledge and experience on how cargo bicycles can reshape urban logistics. Speakers were adamant that cargo style solutions are effective and can shift large volumes of goods. Companies attending the event use cargo cycles which can carry payloads upwards of 250kg.

“I started 3 years ago, knowing nothing,” explained Matthew Linnecar CEO at the London-based delivery company GNEWT, which uses cargo bicycles for last-mile delivery.

“Today we’re moving 3000 consignments per day for just one of our clients in London. We very rarely fail a delivery. We’re on time 99.99% of the time. We’re profitable, we’re successful. It’s going the right way.”

The new federation has come about in wake of the EU-funded Cycle Logistics project, which gathers key players in the field to promote cycle based delivery solutions. According to research undertaken by the project, 50% of all light goods, and 25% of all goods could be moved by cycle. Similar studies in Breda, in the Netherlands, found that of the 1900 trucks that go in every day, less than 10% of the cargo being delivered requires a truck. 40% of deliveries involve one box.

The Cycle Logistics Federation has planned to meet on a regular basis to discuss how to get even more goods out of trucks and onto bicycles. The European Cyclists’ Federation has a fact sheet on cargo bikes.