UK hospital trust trials riverboat parcel delivery service

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London-based Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has become the first in the UK to pilot a daily riverboat delivery service as part of plans to reduce its carbon footprint. The Trust has teamed up with Ceva Logistics and Livett’s Group to trial the service on the River Thames.

If the proof-of-concept pilot is successful, the service will operate on a larger scale, removing trucks from the capital’s roads while providing a reliable delivery route into London during the day. The Trust’s three delivery trucks currently travel around 1,500 miles per week. For each truck removed from the road, it says approximately 708kg of CO could be saved per week.

The riverboat pilot service will run twice a day, five days a week. Parcels will be loaded onto the boat at Dartford International Ferry Terminal in Kent, before making the journey to Butler’s Wharf Pier in London. The parcels, which include clinical supplies for operating theaters, will then be transported by Absolutely, the final-mile delivery partner, on electric cargo bikes to Guy’s Hospital.

In 2019 the Trust worked with Ceva Logistics to open a consolidation supply chain hub in Dartford close to the M25, which has reduced the number of daily truck deliveries onto its hospital sites by 90%. The Trust says it is also planning to introduce a fleet of three large electric trucks to deliver consolidated deliveries from the supply chain hub.

This initiative followed the switch from vans and motorbikes to cargo bikes when transporting blood and tumors for testing between Guy’s Hospital and St Thomas’ Hospital.

David Lawson, chief procurement officer at Guy’s and St Thomas’, commented, “The riverboat pilot forms a key part in our ambition to remove over 40,000 truck deliveries from central London roads each year. We also want to encourage and support other organizations to adopt the use of zero-emission delivery models to improve air quality for the communities that we serve.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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