HomeNEWSOne step back, a turn of the pedal forward

One step back, a turn of the pedal forward

In an age where most services and their processes are getting more efficient, cheaper, and better for the environment, a step away from cars is exactly what is needed in the local, urban-based courier scene.

In a feature previously posted by The Register, Jai Breitnauer noted that modern consumers now expect that the goods they buy online be immediately supplied.

“If you can’t get that thing the consumer wants to them in a timely fashion, they’ll move on to someone who can.”

With the proliferation of urban living, the ongoing battle to meet soaring consumer demand, and environmentally-friendly options gathering momentum, it seems like a no-brainer for bicycle couriers to be a big part of the delivery industry’s offering. We spoke to Russell Silverwood from Wellington based bike delivery service Nocar Cargo to get an insight into the benefits of bike-based delivery.

Silverwood delivers primarily for food and beverage producers, retailers, and offices around the city, opening up their market considerably. “It is probably around 50/50 between producer/retailer and those going to end consumer.”

Wellington is a great example of a city where a commercial and environmental synergy can exist between bike deliverers, retailers, hospitality providers, and offices.

“Traveling by bike is much less susceptible to spikes in traffic,” says Silverwood.

He notes that traffic is becoming an increasing and major issue in Auckland and Wellington. Cycling is both more efficient and less costly than driving, while also being much better for the environment and our congested city roads.

This model has become extremely popular and lucrative in other major overseas cities. Boston based bicycle delivery service, Dashed, saw a gap in the market after Boston’s major delivery service folded. They’ve since rolled out their service to seven cities, delivering for more than 800 restaurants.

B-Line, a Portland, Oregon based delivery service, positions itself as “sustainable urban delivery.” One of their major clients is Office Depot, for which B-Line uses its electric-powered bikes to transport parcels. The company has replaced 20,000 truck and van deliveries since it started in 2009 using six bikes and 15 people.

For companies which invariably produce large carbon footprints – both in production and transportation – even before their goods reach the consumer, a chance to limit this impact while improving their relationship with the consumer seems obvious.

For a tipping point in delivery method to be reached in New Zealand, there needs to be an attitudinal change, both amongst consumers and businesses.

Silverwood said, “As cycling becomes mainstream and widely recognised as a sensible way to get around, combined with introducing infrastructure to improve safety, we’re going to see an increasing demand.”

He says with the change in attitude, “bikes will be increasingly employed as a sustainable, healthy, and sensible transport choice.”

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