Last Mile

Last Mile vehicles make the final transport of goods more environmentally friendly and efficient. What is behind this type of vehicle and what are the challenges facing the industry?

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Vehicles for the Last Mile

In just a few clicks, the new T-shirt is already ordered. After online shopping, however, goods have a long way to go before the customer receives them. Crucially, the so-called Last Mile. Making numerous individual journeys is quite time-consuming for delivery services and is also stressful for the environment. From delivery taxis to drone transport, there are already many vehicles for the last mile - and also new ideas.

What is Last Mile Delivery?

Last Mile Vehicle in front of Skyline | insights by LAMILUX

In delivery transport, the term last mile refers to the final part of the route to the customer – i.e. the last mile that the goods cover during transport. It is comparable to electricity or water supply, from which the term derives: The main line leads to a parcel centre in the city. From there, forty different lines lead to the individual households.
And this is usually the biggest expense for delivery services: As e-commerce grows by around 10 percent annually, courier express parcel (CEP) services have to supply a larger number of people individually. Aspects such as inner-city low-emission zones, staff shortages and congested transport routes pose challenges for delivery services during the last mile. 

Challenges on the Last Mile

Due to the increasing willingness of customers to buy, delivery services are working at capacity. Customers expect fast and timely deliveries from the suppliers, who must perform under time constraints. However, as the roads are increasingly crowded with vans, especially in conurbations, and congestion therefore arises, it is becoming more difficult for CEP services to adhere to their time slots. If there is nobody home to accept the parcel, the work is doubled because the goods are dispatched a second time. This creates a cycle that the delivery services alone can no longer break. And that has quite an effect on the cost: Last Mile transport already accounts for 53 percent of delivery costs. Fleet operators therefore precisely calculate the life-cycle costs, or life-cycle costing, of their vehicles.

GRP for Last Mile Vehicles

Traffic on the last mile of parcels is increasing: this requires the right means of transport. They all have one thing in common: the right materials for the construction of the vehicles make the last mile really efficient. One solution is glass fibre reinforced plastics for the side walls, roofs and floors of last mile vehicles. Download the free white paper and learn more about how GRP makes your Last Mile vehicles more durable and efficient!

Innovative Solutions for Delivery Services

Freight bicycle for the Last Mile delivery service in the city centre | insights by LAMILUX

Why must the goods be delivered to the customer if the customer can also collect their own package? This is the concept of parcel shops or stations, but there are other ways to meet demand. The MyTaxi app made it possible to receive parcel deliveries by taxi in February 2014. Taxi drivers located near a warehouse quickly become parcel carriers and the goods arrive quickly at their destination. Bicycles or e-scooters are also used for delivery. How you benefit: They emit no fuel emissions, are extremely manoeuvrable and are not delayed by traffic jams. The latest dreams of the future are autonomous vehicles or drones. More and more start-ups are also working on creative solutions for vehicles for the last mile.

Equipped for Last Mile

Light refrigerated truck drives in the city centre | insights by LAMILUX

However, there are also practical ways to equip conventional commercial vehicles for the last mile. Weight is a big factor. Last-mile vehicles, often with electric motors, usually rely on lightweight materials to reduce their own weight. This saves fuel and increases the payload capacity. Consequently, there are fewer vehicles in total on the road, emitting fewer pollutants.

Glass fibre-reinforced plastics (GRP) are an example of lightweight construction materials. Plastic sheets are increasingly used for the cladding of commercial vehicles. Their advantages over conventional materials such as aluminium or steel are, above all, the extremely low weight combined with stability and durability. LAMILUX X-treme is a highly suitable composite material for last mile transporters. It can withstand the unavoidable day-to-day knocks and bumps when transporting the goods. This side wall and roof material is also resistant to weather and corrosion.