The subject of air pollution and the harmful impact it has, appears almost daily in the news (no place more so than in Cambridge itself), and the transport on our roads is its biggest single source. Add to the mix the ever-increasing popularity of online shopping, and delivery vehicles are now an ever-present feature of our urban landscape. Although representing just a fraction of the total number of vehicles on our roads, delivery vehicles generate a disproportionate amount of emissions because of what is known as 'the last mile' – the numerous short journeys involved in the final step of the delivery process.
So, while debates about traffic problems in Cambridge rumble endlessly on, one indie business is taking the bull by the horns – or should that be the bike by the handle bars? You may have noticed a bit of a makeover for our favourite local cycle couriers Outspoken. That's because they're now called Zedify (the ZED bit = Zero Emission Deliveries), and they’re gearing up to revolutionise last mile logistics. Zedify is the product of twenty years’ industry experience, co-founded by Rob King of Outspoken and Sam Keam of Brighton-based Recharge Cargo. Along with technology company Skotkonung, they have cleverly created their very own IT platform, allowing for a fully digitally-tracked delivery process. Zedify are now in seven cities across the UK (having just opened a franchise in Southampton), with the aim of being able to offer a much-needed zero emissions service in all urban areas in the near future.
The way in which Zedify is different is that they collate deliveries from both national and local providers at depots on the outskirts of the city. After items have been organised into routes, they’re then delivered on specially adapted electric-powered cargo-bikes – capable of carrying up to an impressive 250kg (or electric vans if needed for really big stuff). Across this growing network, they’re moving literally thousands of parcels daily, and by working with national logistic carriers such as TNT, have proven that a huge proportion of these kinds of delivery can be made via bike or other sustainable methods.
As well as developing their 'last mile' system, the Zedify team also have their very own customer portal, which means that businesses themselves are able to book, track and manage their own deliveries. In London for instance, where there’s been huge growth in subscription delivery, be that coffee or organic fruit, where a customer has regular deliveries that they pre-select and book. Here in Cambridge, we have such a vibrant indie scene, so isn't it great to have a service like this that allows their products to be accessible to even more people, more regularly and with this sort of convenience.
Just imagine the scene, you’re sitting at your desk, it’s Friday afternoon and suddenly a smiling, (living wage-paid!) courier delivers to you a delightful cheese selection from a local producer or a mouth-watering cake from an artisan baker. Then waving cheerfully, they jump back on their bike and peddle off – non-polluting down the congestion-free streets of Cambridge! A dream? Maybe not if we all do our bit to Zedify Cambridge.
Bike Depot, 140, Cowley Road
Tel: 01223 719594