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Daily DHL Express boat on River Thames replaces transfers via trucks

Daily DHL boat on River Thames.

[DHL] International express service provider DHL Express has launched London’s first riverboat parcel delivery service, which aims to ease congestion and provide a reliable and efficient way of transporting deliveries across the capital. The innovative service has been introduced as part of DHL’s commitment to using blended transport modes to improve access to urban areas and is an important step towards exploring the use of the river for small scale freight transport.

“This year we will invest about 1 billion EUR in our infrastructure for growing our global network and therefore further improve the quality of our customer business”, says 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 turning our vision of ‘connecting people, improving lives’ into reality. This also includes new transport modes, we’re bringing forward to reduce road traffic, 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.”

Daily DHL Express riverboat freight service to transport small packages into central London for last mile delivery by bike.

Daily riverboat freight service to transport small packages into central London for last mile delivery by bike. DHL

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 travelling at high speed along the Thames into central London, docking at Bankside Pier for final mile delivery on DHL courier bicycles.

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

Finding a better blend of transport
Ian Wilson, Chief Executive UK&I, DHL Express said: “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.”

Sean Collins, CEO, Thames Clippers Logistics said: “We’re thrilled to be facilitating this service alongside DHL. The river is a widely under-used natural source of transportation and as we have demonstrated over the last 21 years with our passenger services, the river has opportunity to innovate and evolve – this new high-speed parcel delivery service is a great example of this. As a business we strive to maximise the uses of the river as a mode of transport and will continue to reduce congestion on London’s roads.”

The riverboat service is the latest addition to GoGreen, DHL’s group-wide environmental protection program. GoGreen is the cornerstone of DHL’s sustainability work and focuses on reducing and avoiding emissions of greenhouse gases and local air pollutants. Within this is Mission 2050, targeting a reduction of all logistics-related emissions to zero by the year 2050.