Cycle Logistics at the Tipping Point?
The European Cycle Logistics Federation held its 6th international conference on 24th June 2019 in Dublin. Hosted by the Dublin City Council, the event had over 150 participants signed up from all over the world and bore witness to three ‘launch’ events.
The world of (cycle) logistics is moving – and it’s moving fast. Recent warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change, are clear in saying CO2 emissions have to decline by 25% by 2030, if we are to keep temperature raise to 2°C by the end of the century. In line with this projection, EU institutions agreed on 37.5% CO2 reduction for cars and 31% for vans by 2030. So, it doesn’t surprise to see delivery companies proactively looking at alternatives to their polluting, unsafe, inefficient diesel trucks. And since cycle logistics can play a crucial role in keeping emissions of the last-mile close to 0, the great success of the Dublin ECLF conference doesn’t surprise either.
The efficiency, convenience and versatilityof cargo bikes make them attractive to independent courier services as well as global corporations. During one of the sessions at the ECLF conference Peter Harris, UPS’ International Sustainability Director, revealed that of its “119,000 fleet, almost 8% are alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicles, including cargo bikes”. Collection and delivery are all about electrification and cycle logistics, with long haul concentrating on renewable natural gas.
In this context, a strong voice representing operators and manufacturers is more than needed: the European Cycle Logistics Federation (ECLF) and Cycling Industries Europe (CIE) announced a strategic partnership to strengthen the impact and industrial coordination of the cargo bike sector. They have combined forces to create a stronger advocacy voice for cycle logistics businesses in EU and national government policies.
Richard Armitage, Executive Director of ECLF said “Our members specialise in local cycle logistics operations, providing expertise in working with new businesses and start-ups in our sector. Supported by CIE we will now have more capacity to bring together operators, suppliers and supporters internationally, working for our industry at all levels.”
Kevin Mayne, Chief Executive of CIE revealed troubling numbers:
2 million light commercial vehicles per year are sold in the EU and 96% of them are diesel, a figure that is growing. Our collaboration with ECLF means we can showcase how cycle logistics businesses must be at the heart of sustainable mobility policies. Our target is 1 million cargo bikes sold annually.
Both ECLF and CIE are partners of the EU funded City Change Cargo Bike (CCCB) project aimed to grow cargo bike use and sales across the EU. In Dublin, the CCCB Project launched a set of four booklets promoting the use of cargo bikes. But the plans are to go much further: the industrial branch of the project will develop innovative financial schemes to support operators and service providers get started with their cycle logistics business, while municipalities from all over Europe will be implementing best practices to make cargo bikes ubiquitous in our cities.