TNT is an official partner of Citylog, a consortium of 18 companies, research organisations, associations and public institutions from six different countries coordinated by Fiat Research Centre. “TNT is specifically responsible for testing Citylog’s delivery concepts, for example the Bentobox, Freight Bus and Telematics information system, to see if they are suitable sustainable solutions for city centres,” explains Dominique Mamcarz, Project Manager CR SEMEA. “The project is integrated into our own global CR strategy as part of our City Logistics initiatives.” TNT Express Italy is the main point of contact with Citylog project leaders and the EU, and acts as a facilitator between the project leaders and TNT entities. TNT Italy and TNT France are testing Citylog solutions in Turin and Lyon, with positive results.
Innovative solutions for city centres
Earlier this year in Lyon, TNT piloted the Bentobox, a flexible delivery solution for retailers located in downtown shopping galleries. TNT teamed up with major customer Vivarté Group to test Bentobox for Vivarté’s Kookaï store in a Lyon shopping mall. The Bentobox is a simple solution: trolleys – or mobile containers – are loaded with merchandise for shopping malls in the depot by TNT. Then the trolleys are delivered to an automated parcel station within the shopping mall, before or after open hours. The driver inserts the trolleys into the dock station, triggering an automated alert that notifies the customer of delivery by SMS or email. Customers can then pick up their merchandise 24/7 at their convenience. The advantages? Fewer heavy weight vehicles in downtown areas during rush hour, less pollution and noise in city centres, and more flexibility for customers – all of which contribute to better logistics for shopping centres and delivery zones.
“The Citylog concepts do not target specific customers per se,” Dominique notes. “However, they focus on sustainable solutions for urban areas. We approached our major retail network customers to take part in the Bentobox pilot as the solution fits their needs best, and Vivarté responded positively. If this solution is rolled out, it will benefit numerous retail stores nationwide and be particularly useful for our Lifestyle customers who need flexible delivery solutions for their chain stores in shopping malls.”
City officials of Greater Lyon are enthusiastic and supportive of Citylog concepts, citing the Bentobox as an innovative, environmentally-friendly solution. “TNT has a longstanding relationship with the city of Lyon via the urban transport commission, and our role within Citylog enables us to showcase our skills in project management and position TNT as a preferred supplier,” says Dominique. “We took the lead in the planning and implementation of this pilot, and it has further improved our relationship with the city and provided positive visibility in the press and other channels. We have already launched a second Citylog pilot in Lyon, the Freight Bus, which has been running during April and May. The basic idea is similar to Bentobox – mobile compartments used for first and last mile delivery in congested downtown areas.”
The Freight Bus works like this: instead of filling a large truck with merchandise for delivery at multiple locations, three independent mobile load units of 10m3 are filled separately, each with the goods corresponding to one round. The three boxes are loaded onto a heavy weight truck at the depot on the outskirts of the city, and then driven to a transhipment site near the delivery area. Here, each box is transferred to a small, light vehicle that makes PUD rounds downtown. At the end of the day, the boxes are loaded back on the heavy weight truck which returns to the depot. The Freight Bus transfer area doesn’t need a special building or infrastructure, which means it can be used for other purposes when it’s not needed by the Freight Bus.
Evaluating the results
TNT is also Citylog’s delivery partner of choice for pilots of these prototypes in Turin, where Bentobox was tested in May and Freight Bus is scheduled for testing in June and July. Bentobox was also piloted in Berlin by another supplier according to local specifications, with the same objective of offering a sustainable solution for downtown deliveries.
“Organising the testing of these different concepts was very complex because there are so many stakeholders involved,” Dominique notes. “It includes all of the 18 different external partners which are part of the Citylog project, as well as many of the functional areas within TNT. Cross-functional project management and a clear project governance structure have been essential to the success of the pilots to date. We are pleased to say that we are on target to finalise and evaluate the pilots for the EU by the end of the year as planned. The results will be used to determine if the concepts are suitable for TNT, depending on how well they meet business case requirements and KPI standards.”
Article written by Winona Marrel
Editor’s note: Alongside its involvement in the Citylog project, TNT Italy is a key player in the Smart City European initiative, which also targets alternative, sustainable delivery solutions for urban areas. An update on this will be included in The Express soon.