DHL Express launches parcel delivery by boat in London

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DHL Express has announced the launch of London’s first riverboat parcel delivery service, which it hopes will help ease congestion in the city and provide a reliable and efficient way of transporting deliveries across the UK’s capital.

The company says the service has been introduced as part of its commitment to using blended transportation modes in order to improve access to urban areas, and is an important step toward the greater use of rivers for small scale freight transportation.

“This year we will invest about €1bn (US$1.7bn) in infrastructure for growing our global network and therefore further improve the quality of our customer business,” said John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express.

“Besides the renewal of our aircraft fleet and the expansion of our hubs and gateways we are constantly looking for innovative solutions that help us turn our vision of ‘connecting people, improving lives’ into reality. This also includes new transport modes we’re bringing forward to reduce road traffic and carbon output and improve air quality. The riverboat is a fast, efficient and reliable way of utilizing a currently untapped access route into London and it is one of a couple of initiatives we are investing in, on our way to zero emission in 2050.”

The riverboat service, operated by Thames Clippers Logistics, will run daily at 7:30am, transporting packages into London. The shipments will be loaded from electric vehicles onto the riverboat at Wandsworth Riverside Quarter Pier before traveling at high speed along the Thames into Central London, docking at Bankside Pier for final-mile delivery on DHL courier bicycles.

DHL notes it has already proven the effectiveness of combining land and waterways through its established canal delivery network in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Venice, Italy, but the service in London represents its first high-speed service.

Ian Wilson, chief executive, UK&I, DHL Express, concluded, “With traffic and poor air quality becoming an increasing problem in urban areas like London, we’re committed to finding a better blend of transport. This new and unique service, combining electric vehicles, riverboat and last-mile bikes, creates fast and efficient access across the capital.”

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