Sustainable e-commerce: The last mile

Sustainable e-commerce: The last mile

In the third episode of our blog series, we take a look at the possibilities for more sustainability in the shipping of goods. So let’s set off together with the order on its way to the customers.

They are yellow, white, blue or green and are part of the street scene wherever people live: the vehicles of parcel delivery services. On the so-called last mile between the shipping department and the customers, a significant part of the greenhouse gas emissions in the entire fulfilment process is generated with conventional delivery. At the same time, it offers great potential for CO2 savings and thus for more sustainability in e-commerce. At MS Direct, we know what is important: good utilisation of the loading space, intelligent route planning, electric drives and other clever ideas reduce greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time relieve road traffic.

Organisational skills required.

Sustainable shipping starts with loading the delivery vehicles that take the ordered goods to their destination. If their loading volume is fully utilised, more parcels can be transported at the same time. Empty runs or runs with low capacity utilisation, on the other hand, are counterproductive. Linked to this is the next point: intelligent route management. Efficient route planning helps enormously to save CO2 emissions. Today, smart software tools for this are part of the carriers’ standard equipment and support them in optimally organising the journeys.

Delivery at the first attempt.

Unnecessary journeys can also be avoided if the consignment can be delivered the first time. Some senders offer options such as specifying a drop-off location or a preferred neighbour for the drop-off. Selecting a suitable time slot or live tracking of the delivery vehicle can also ensure that someone is actually personally present at the destination to accept the order. Parcel stations make a further contribution. Parcels can be delivered directly to several recipients in one go. This makes sense especially in urban areas, where customers can pick up their parcels on foot or by bicycle, for example, on their way home from work.

Green Fleet.

Electric mobility is also very popular in the delivery business. Some delivery service providers have already converted their fleet to e-vehicles, such as the Swiss carrier Quickpac. The company operates one of the largest electric car fleets in the country and in this way delivers in a CO2-neutral way not only to urban areas but also to rural areas, which are not yet covered by green delivery by some competitors. E-commerce providers who do not want to or cannot fully rely on a shipper with a green fleet have the option of resorting to a multicarrier solution. This allows customers to choose the desired delivery service themselves in the checkout process.

Snail mail arrives too.

On the one hand, our world is becoming increasingly fast-paced. In e-commerce, same-day or next-day delivery services are therefore also becoming more common. On the other hand, more and more people are opting for a more conscious, responsible lifestyle. This also applies to shopping online. They appreciate being given the option to choose slower delivery or to refuse partial deliveries. After all, not every product ordered has to arrive at home in the shortest possible time. By removing the time pressure of delivery, the carrier can plan its routes more efficiently and better utilise its means of transport. A good way for retailers and customers to contribute together to more sustainable e-commerce.

All articles on the sustainable e-commerce supply chain.