Exploring sustainable options for last mile delivery

First published by blu, on 07 October 2020

Last mile delivery

There have been many technological innovations made in logistics-related fields, yet the logistics industry still teeters on the cusp of change. The pandemic might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, with fluctuations in demand and supply finally kicking businesses into embracing change, especially for last mile delivery. 

As it stands, urban congestion and air pollution are two main drivers in the push for alternative delivery methods. Current last mile delivery methods are unsustainable in the long run, due to factors such as rising urbanisation, consumers’ growing appetite for eCommerce, and the increasing number of eCommerce product categories and profiles. The increase in demand for last mile delivery services is projected to increase by almost 80% through 2030. Correspondingly, emissions and urban congestion are also projected to rise by more than 30% if no industry-wide intervention takes place1

For private players, the growing amount of resources required for last mile delivery - namely time, manpower, and fuel costs, among others - can work up to a large slice of their eCommerce revenue. Typically, businesses look at the cost of alternative delivery methods when considering whether to adopt them, but with changed consumer behaviour resulting from the pandemic, there is now a greater push for businesses to seriously consider alternatives to traditional door-to-door delivery, such as drones, parcel lockers, parcel boxes and even load pooling, to name a few. 

Parcel lockers: the sustainable way forward
In Singapore, blu is proud to be a nationally-appointed Locker Operator in the Locker Alliance, launched by the Infocomm and Media Development Authority (IMDA) as a pilot project to test the viability of a public parcel locker network, streamlining last mile deliveries and alleviating urban congestion. 

The success of this initiative is clear with IMDA’s announcement that a nationwide parcel locker network will be rolled out in phases from end-20212. With the support of the government, there is no better time than now to think about parcel lockers as an alternative to door-to-door delivery. Not only does this reduce instances of missed deliveries, customers are also able to benefit from the convenience and flexibility of collecting their purchases from their preferred bluPort location. 

Offering parcel locker deliveries may also prove to be a wise choice as consumers become increasingly concerned about sustainability. In fact, recent studies conducted show that a good majority of consumers are more likely to purchase from companies that value sustainability in their products and services3. Consolidating parcel deliveries to bluPort parcel lockers reduces the number of vehicles and trips required, which allows for reduced carbon emissions overall.

That aside, the biggest push towards more sustainable delivery methods might be due to new regulations: authorities in Singapore are considering distance-based Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) in the future, with the aim of reducing congestion and environmental pollution4. Any last mile service provider will be significantly impacted by these regulations, and delivery costs are likely to increase unless more sustainable alternatives are adopted. Businesses should thus recognise the importance of alternatives to last mile delivery, and reach out to us to learn more about our bluPort parcel locker network.
 

 

1 Automotive World, “Rising last mile demand could boost the number of delivery vehicles…”

2 IMDA, Formation of Pick to Roll Out Nationwide Parcel Locker Network

3 HSBC, Sustainable consumption trends after COVID-19

4 The Straits Times, New ERP system to start in 2023 but no distance-based charging yet; replacement of IU from second half of 2021

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