Posts Tagged ‘freight’

Food Freight Deliveries by Barge in Paris

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on April 26th, 2012

Source: ifw

Image © Alfred Cromback

From “Supermarket delivers by river” by Stuart Todd:

French supermarket Franprix, part of the Casino group, will later this year use river transport to deliver food products on a daily basis to 80 of its stores in the centre of Paris.  The development is believed to be an industry first.

Containers will be transported by truck from a warehouse in the suburbs of Paris to the inland port of Bonneuil-sur-Marne for transfer to a barge for the 20 km journey along the Marne and Seine rivers to the heart of the French capital – thus avoiding chronic road trafiic congestion into Paris.  Currently, services carrying food products by river to Paris have had to terminate at ports in the suburbs due to the lack of a city centre river terminal capable of handling containers.

The Franprix service has been made possible by re-development work carried out by inland ports operator, the Ports de Paris, on a stretch of quayside located in Paris’ 7th arrondissement, near the Eiffel Tower, to accomodate the barge shuttles.

The service is scheduled for launch in September and in the start-up phase will transport 28 containers(the equivalent of 450 pallets) daily rising to 48 containers over time. Deliveries to Franprix stores will be undertaken by Norbert Dentressangle.  “Each container transported by river represents 10,000 fewer truck kilometres annually,” the retailer said. The stores served by the barge shuttle will display the logo “Supplied by the Seine,” the retailer added.

In September last year, French inland waterway specialist Compagnie Fluviale de Transport (CFT) unveiled a new barge service on the Seine for the delivery of new vehicles to dealerships and car rental firms in central Paris.

In 2007, another French supermarket chain, Monoprix,began supplying its Paris city centre outlets by a Fret SNCF-operated 20-wagon shuttle, running every working day on the D Line of SNCF’s Paris suburban network.

Read the original article by Stuart Todd.

Chinese Wheelbarrows: Low-carbon, low-infrastructure vehicles

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on February 16th, 2012

Source: Low-Tech Magazine

Image from Kris de Decker

From “How to downsize a transport network: the Chinese wheelbarrow” by Kris de Decker:

For being such a seemingly ordinary vehicle, the wheelbarrow has a surprisingly exciting history. This is especially true in the East, where it became a universal means of transportation for both passengers and goods, even over long distances.

The Chinese wheelbarrow – which was driven by human labour, beasts of burden and wind power – was of a different design than its European counterpart. By placing a large wheel in the middle of the vehicle instead of a smaller wheel in front, one could easily carry three to six times as much weight than if using a European wheelbarrow.

The one-wheeled vehicle appeared around the time the extensive Ancient Chinese road infrastructure began to disintegrate. Instead of holding on to carts, wagons and wide paved roads, the Chinese turned their focus to a much more easily maintainable network of narrow paths designed for wheelbarrows. The Europeans, faced with similar problems at the time, did not adapt and subsequently lost the option of smooth land transportation for almost one thousand years.

Transport options over land

Before the arrival of the steam engine, people have always preferred to move cargo over water instead of over land, because it takes much less effort to do so. But whenever this was not possible, there remained essentially three options for transporting goods: carrying them (using aids like a yoke, or none at all), tying them to pack animals (donkeys, mules, horses, camels, goats), or loading them onto a wheeled cart or wagon (which could be pulled by humans or animals).

Carrying stuff was the easiest way to go; there was no need to build roads or vehicles, nor to feed animals. But humans can carry no more than 25 to 40 kg over long distances, which made this a labour-intensive method if many goods had to be transported. Pack animals can take about 50 to 150 kg, but they have to be fed, are slightly more demanding than people in terms of terrain, and they can be stubborn. Pack animals also require one or more people to guide them.

When carrying goods – whether by person or by pack animals – the load is not only moved in the desired direction but it also undergoes an up and down movement with every step. This is a significant waste of energy, especially when transporting heavy goods over long distances. Dragging stuff does not have this drawback, but in that case you have friction to fight. Pulling a wheeled vehicle is therefore the most energy-efficient choice, because the cargo only undergoes a horizontal motion and friction is largely overcome by the wheels. Wheeled carts and wagons, whether powered by animals or people, can take more weight for the same energy input, but this advantage comes at a price; you need to build fairly smooth and level roads, and you need to build a vehicle. If the vehicle is drawn by an animal, the animal needs to be fed.

When all these factors are taken into consideration, the wheelbarrow could be considered the most efficient transport option over land, prior to the Industrial Revolution. It could take a load similar to that of a pack animal, yet it was powered by human labour and not prone to disobedience.

Compared to a two-wheeled cart or a four-wheeled wagon, a wheelbarrow was much cheaper to build because wheel construction was a labour-intensive job. Although the wheelbarrow required a road, a very narrow path (about as wide as the wheel) sufficed, and it could be bumpy. The two handles gave an intimacy of control that made the wheelbarrow very manoeuvrable.


When the wheelbarrow finally caught on in Europe, it was used for short distance cargo transport only, notably in construction, mining and agriculture. It was not a road vehicle. In the East, however, the wheelbarrow was also applied to medium and long distance travel, carrying both cargo and passengers. This use – which had no Western counterpart – was only possible because of a difference in the design of the Chinese vehicle. The Western wheelbarrow was very ill-adapted to carry heavy weights over longer distances, whereas the Chinese design excelled at it.

On the European wheelbarrow the wheel was (and is) invariably placed at the furthest forward end of the barrow, so that the weight of the burden is equally distributed between the wheel and the man pushing it. In fact, the wheel substitutes for the front man of the handbarrow or stretcher, the carrying tool that was replaced by the wheelbarrow.

Superior Chinese design

In the characteristic Chinese design a much larger wheel was (and is) placed in the middle of the wheelbarrow, so that it takes the full weight of the burden with the human operator only guiding the vehicle. In fact, in this design the wheel substitutes for a pack animal. In other words, when the load is 100 kg, the operator of a European wheelbarrow carries a load of 50 kg while the operator of a Chinese wheelbarrow carries nothing. He (or she) only has to push or pull, and steer.


The decay of the Chinese road infrastructure

The importance of the Chinese wheelbarrow can only be understood in the context of the Chinese transportation network. Prior to the third century AD, China had an extensive and well-maintained road network suited for animal powered carts and wagons. It was only surpassed in length by the Ancient Roman road network. The Chinese road infrastructure attained a total length of about 25,000 miles (40,000 km), compared to almost 50,000 miles (80,000 km) for the Roman system.

The Chinese and Roman road systems were built (independently) over the course of five centuries during the same period in history. Curiously, due to (unrelated) political reasons, both systems also started to disintegrate side by side from the third century AD onwards, and herein lies the explanation for the success of the Chinese wheelbarrow. As we have seen, the one-wheeled vehicle appeared during this period, and this is no coincidence. Increasingly, it was the only vehicle that could be operated on the deteriorating road network.


Lessons for the future

Of course, it was not only the wheelbarrow that kept Chinese communication running after the second century AD. At least as important was the impressive network of artificial canals that complemented it. This infrastructure became ever more important after the detoriation of the road network. For example, the Grand Canal, which ran from Hangzhou to Bejing over a distance of 1800 km, was completed in 1327 after 700 years of digging.

In Europe, the first (relatively modest) canals were only built during the 16th century, and most of them only appeared in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Chinese wheelbarrow alone could not have given Europe an equally effective transport infrastructure as the Chinese, but there is no doubt that it could have made life in medieval Europe a great deal easier.

The story of the Chinese wheelbarrow also teaches us an obvious lesson for the future. While many of us today are not even prepared to change their limousine for a small car, let alone their automobile for a bicycle, we forget that neither one of these vehicles can function without suited roads. Building and maintaining roads is very hard work, and history shows that it is far from evident to keep up with it.

In this regard, it is important to keep in mind that we won’t be as lucky as the medieval Europeans who inherited one of the best and most durable road networks in the world. Our road infrastructure – mostly based on asphalt – is more similar to that of the Ancient Chinese and will disintegrate at a much faster rate if we lose our ability to maintain it. The Chinese wheelbarrow – and with it many other forgotten low-tech transportation options – might one day come in very handy again.

Read the full article (there’s a lot more, with pictures too) by Kris de Decker on Low-Tech Magazine.

Parcel Service Uses Streetcars for Deliveries

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on October 3rd, 2011

Source: Japan for Sustainability

From “Yamato Starts Using Streetcars for Low-Carbon Parcel Transport“:


Under the new system, Yamato Transport Co. charters a single streetcar from Keifuku Electric Railroad at its Saiin carbarn, loads the streetcar with container dollies bearing parcels, and delivers them to Arashiyama Station and Randen-Saga Station. In Arashiyama, sales drivers unload the dollies, reload them onto carriers pulled by electric bicycles, and then deliver the parcels to customers.

Yamato Transport had already been using railway to transport parcels between some of its service offfices; however, this is the first modal shift between one of its distribution terminals and its sales offices, where parcels are actually collected and delivered. The company will introduce this system at other Randen streetcar stations and try to collect and deliver parcels while minimizing its use of trucks.

Yamato Transport hopes to reduce carbon emissions in Kyoto City, a city that, as the birthplace of the Kyoto Protocol, aims to be a model of environmental stewardship under the slogan “Walking City, Kyoto.”

Read the full article on Japan for Sustainability.

Freight Efficiency: Combining shipping loads from different companies

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on September 29th, 2011

Source: Transport Intelligence

Image © Schneider Logistics Inc

From “Schneider Logistics offers new LTL pooling service“:

Schneider Logistics, Inc., part of the Schneider National enterprise, has unveiled a new service offering for shippers with re-occurring less-than-truckload (LTL) moves. Integrated Delivery Services (IDS) utilises Schneider’s Supply Chain management technology, cross-docking abilities and dedicated trucking experience to provide a new, cost-effective supply chain solution for shippers willing to pool their cargo.

“Schneider saw an opportunity to provide a smarter solution for shippers moving LTL freight in the same geographic markets,” explained Todd Jadin, vice president of IDS for Schneider Logistics. “Integrated Delivery Services is especially attractive to shippers in the automotive aftermarket, heavy truck and equipment manufacturers, and specialty retailers. Companies within each of these industries run common routes and have similar distribution locations and dispatch schedules; by pooling their deliveries, we provide tremendous efficiencies and cost savings.”

Schneider piloted Integrated Delivery Services in Denver, Colorado with shippers of competing brands who had similar delivery windows, routes, shuttles and cross-dock locations. Through a shared-channel approach, Schneider merged freight and created customised routes based on multiple shippers’ cross-docking, dedicated delivery, pool distribution, reverse logistics and LTL consolidation needs. Schneider’s Integrated Delivery Service currently operates in eight networks across the US: Portland, Oregon; Sacramento, California; Los Angeles, California; Denver, Colorado; Houston, Texas; Lenexa, Kansas; Jackson, Mississippi; Winchester, Virginia, and Memphis, Tennessee. Markets targeted for expansion include the Midwest and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.

Read the original article on Transport Intelligence.

One Revolution: Bike Delivery Service

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on July 15th, 2011

One Revolution LLC is a member owned bike delivery service located in Burlington, Vermont. One Revolution’s mission is to provide expedient bicycle pick-up, delivery, marketing, and promotional services for individuals, local businesses, and organizations. We provide a delivery and promotional model for our partners whom share a common vision of sustainable, environmentally friendly, delivery of Vermont products while exerting a positive influence on the well being of our community. We provide bike delivery services to include catering delivery, wholesale and retail delivery, grocery delivery, CSA (community-supported agriculture) shares, compost and recycling, document delivery and publication distribution.

  • CSA and Farm Produce Bike Delivery
    Have your CSA share delivered to your door by bicycle. We work with Burlington area CSA farms to make farm fresh produce easily accessible to everyone. One Revolution will deliver your weekly share by bike to your home or office every week allowing you more time to create amazing meals.
  • Catering Delivery
    Local restaurants have partnered with One Revolution to offer bike delivery of catered meals. View menus from these great Vermont Businesses, place your order, and let them know you’d like it delivered by bike!
  • Revolution Compost (Pilot Program)
    Weekly food waste pick-up (and finished compost product return) by bicycle. This is your chance to not only reduce the amount of waste being trucked to landfill, but to reduce the amount of fossil fuels that would otherwise be used to truck this waste to landfill or industrialized compost facilities. Revolution Compost uses bicycles to provide this year-round service and recycles your kitchen scraps into rich organic compost.


Combining Local Shop Deliveries: Last Mile Freight Solution

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on May 30th, 2011

Source: Springwise

From “Combined deliveries from small, local grocers“:

London-based Hubbub lets customers place online grocery orders with multiple local shops and receive a single, aggregated delivery to the door. Consumers in most parts of Highbury, Islington, Finsbury Park, Stoke Newington, Tufnell Park and Kentish Town begin by creating an account with Hubbub and then shopping online at their favorite greengrocers, butchers, fishmongers, bakers and more. Shopping can be conducted online shop by shop, or consumers can search for a particular product. Either way, prices are the same as those charged in the shops themselves, and consumers can even choose when their order will be delivered. When that time comes, Hubbub visits the shops in question, picks up the items ordered and delivers them in a single delivery to the consumer’s door. Delivery takes place only on weekdays, and it’s free on the consumer’s first order and for all orders over GBP 75. Otherwise, it costs GBP 3.50, regardless of the order’s size. With the eco-benefits of combined delivery runs and the (still) made here appeal of local sourcing — not to mention the compelling convenience involved — we’re betting there will be plenty more services like this to come.

Check out the original article on Springwise for links to other ideas like this one.


Life Cycle Analysis of Fresh Mango Industry: Reducing Waste

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on March 14th, 2011

Source: CSIRO via FoodMag

Image: visualdensity via flickr CC

A study by CSIRO on the carbon and water footprints of the Australian fresh mango industry has identified areas of waste in the supply chain that could apply to other food industries.

CSIRO determined the impact of food waste on the carbon and water footprints of the Australian fresh mango industry using a technique called Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA can also highlight where the greatest opportunities are in the supply chain to help minimise wastage, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, preserve valuable water resources and improve food security. The results show that a staggering 54 per cent of the average yearly production – about 19 000 tonnes of mangoes – are wasted along the way from farm to fork. In this podcast, CSIRO’s Dr Brad Ridoutt explains how and why the LCA on fresh mangos was done and how important Life Cycle Assessment could be in making food systems more sustainable in the future.

“…Probably the bigger issue is how representative is the mango industry of the food industry generally. And that’s where we’d like to expand our future work to understand more broadly, because what we’re really trying to understand is, how can we produce a sustainable food system. The work on mangoes was really just a case study to give us some insights.”

Read the full transcript of the interview or listen to the podcast here.

From Rubbish Truck to Horse & Cart

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on October 27th, 2010


Photo © Sita

From French towns swap rubbish trucks for horse-drawn carts by Jacqueline Karp:

Long before recycling became a household word, a Paris prefect called Eugene Poubelle, introduced three separate containers for household waste – glass and pottery, oyster and mussel shells, and the rest – and had horse-drawn carts empty them. Six years later, his surname entered the Academy dictionary as the word for “dustbin”. Now, over a century later, a growing number of French towns are returning to horse-drawn kerbside waste collection, as a better way to recycle.

For Jean Baptiste, mayor of medieval Peyrestortes, near Perpignan and one of 60 towns now using horses to collect waste, the benefit above all is practical. “You can’t turn a waste collection vehicle around here. We used to block streets to traffic and keep waste in open skips.” He sold off a dustbin lorry and acquired two Breton carthorses instead. Asked whether the changes are saving money, he says: “It’s too early. But money isn’t the only reason. The exhaust smells have gone, the noise has gone, and instead we have the clip-clop of horses’ hooves.”

In Saint Prix, however, in Greater Paris, Mayor Jean-Pierre Enjalbert is certain he is saving money as the novelty of the horses has increased recycling rates. “By using the horse for garden waste collection, we have raised awareness. People are composting more. Incineration used to cost us €107 a tonne, ridiculous for burning wet matter, now we only pay €37 to collect and compost the waste.”

Read the full article by Jacqueline Karp.

Glasgow Tram Freighter Plan

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on April 16th, 2010

Source: Going Solar Transport Newsletter

“A new plan for sustainable transport in Glasgow includes a proposal to run trams in the city centre for freight as well as passengers. A similar scheme was attempted in Amsterdam (City Cargo) but failed last year, and the plan’s authors have suggested that this was because there were too few restrictions on road lorries in the Dutch capital to give trams a competitive edge. The plan, ‘Sustainable Glasgow‘, has been produced jointly by Glasgow City Council and the University of Strathclyde. It covers many environmental topics in a bid to deal with the effects of a changing climate, but its transport proposals include a city centre tramway linked to a dedicated bus route along the Clyde Waterfront which could also be later converted to light rail. It is, however, the suggestion that city centre trams could be used to replace lorries making deliveries which is unusual. Urban tramways have not been used to carry freight in Britain for many years, although the former Glasgow Corporation Tramways, which closed in 1962, were among those that did, sometimes using standard railway wagons. The report says: ‘The potential for a mixed use passenger and freight tram system in the centre of Glasgow should be explored. This would initially operate primarily in the pedestrianised areas of the city – thus reducing traffic disruption during the installation of the system, and providing a transport link between Queen Street and Central stations’.” Ref: Railnews (UK), 9/2/10

From Going Solar’s Transport Newsletter #149

Intention-based Shipping

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on October 12th, 2009

Source: Springwise

Image: anemoneprojectors via flickr CC

Shiply, which set up shop in 2008, is a free online marketplace where transport companies bid for listed shipments.

After creating an online account, consumers list what they need to ship and provide details about pickup, delivery and shipment dates. Anything from a pet carriage to a car can be listed. Transport providers then bid for the shipment, potentially turning unused space in their trucks into profit. Shiply’s system means that as companies try to outbid one another, users typically save about 75% on their shipping costs. Users can contribute and read feedback left by other customers, and accept the bid with which they feel happiest.

The company states that 25% of European lorries run completely empty. By filling up this space, Shiply makes sure trucks get extra cash for unused space, and saves consumers money. Of course, it’s hugely beneficial in terms of reducing carbon emissions and congestion, too. (Shiply was awarded a EUR 100,000 runner-up prize in this year’s Green Challenge).

Read the full article on Springwise.