If successful, the service will provide a reliable delivery route into London during the day
A UK National Health Service (NHS) hospital trust has become the first in the country to pilot a daily riverboat delivery service as part of plans to reduce carbon emissions and tackle air pollution.
London-based Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has teamed up with Ceva Logistics, Absolutely and Livett’s Group to trial the final mile delivery service. The initiative followed the switch to cargo bikes when transporting blood and tumours for testing between Guy’s Hospital and St Thomas’ Hospital, which replaced vans and motorbikes.
Reliable delivery route
If the proof-of-concept pilot is proved 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 reports its three delivery trucks travel around 1,500 miles per week and for each truck removed from the road, approximately 708kgs of CO2 could be saved per week.
The service would help Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital trust work towards its aim of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and support the mayor of London’s aim to reduce the number of lorries and vans entering central London in the morning peak by 10 per cent by 2026.
The aim for the riverboat pilot service is to 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 theatres, will then be transported by Absolutely, the final mile delivery partner, on electric cargo bikes to Guy’s Hospital.
“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 organisations to adopt the use of zero emission delivery models to improve air quality for the communities that we serve,” said David Lawson, chief procurement officer at Guy’s and St Thomas’.
“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 organisations to adopt the use of zero emission delivery models to improve air quality for the communities that we serve”
The three-month pilot was launched on Clean Air Day, 17 June. Earlier in June, Guy’s and St Thomas’ unveiled its sustainability strategy which sets out a clear path towards more sustainable healthcare for the next 10 years. The pilot is just one of the initiatives that the trust has introduced to help reduce its carbon footprint and to become more sustainable.
In 2019, the trust worked with Ceva Logistics to open a consolidation supply chain hub in Dartford close to the M25 ‘orbital’ motorway, which has reduced the number of daily truck deliveries onto the hospital sites by 90 per cent, according to the trust. The Trust is also planning to introduce a fleet of three large electric trucks to deliver consolidated deliveries from the supply chain hub.
“The riverboat trial firmly supports our commitment to sustainable and ethical supply chains,” added Chris Walton, managing director UK and Ireland at Ceva Logistics.
“As part of what we call responsive logistics, we constantly look for smart, alternative solutions to improve our carbon footprint and reduce noise and air pollution, specifically when operating in urban areas.”
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