Dublin City Council and UPS reinvent last-mile deliveries

By: July 15, 2020

Dublin has become the first city in the world where a new, city-friendly model of last-mile deliveries will be rolled out.

The model means typically high emission last-mile deliveries could be a thing of the past. Using eWalkers and eQuad cycles, UPS says the application of mini urban distribution centres means faster, cleaner more people-friendly deliveries.

“This solution helps the city adapt to the Covid-19 situation by enabling foot and bike deliveries and discouraging the return of congestion,” says Owen Keegan, Dublin City Council chief executive.

“It is really exciting to be piloting this in Dublin –the first city to test the Fernhay eWalker,” says Frances Fernandes, director, Fernhay. “Cities are facing huge change to respond to ‘social distancing’ with pavements widened outside shops and roads narrowed to make more space for walking and cycling. Our system offers a clean and viable option and rethinks how cities can support last-mile deliveries now and in the future.”

UPS says the eWalkers and eQuads operate from “urban package eco hubs”. The eco-hubs take in larger consignments of deliveries and redistribute them to walkers and cyclists using removable cube containers. There are currently two of these mini distribution centres running in Dublin with more planned.

How this happened
Funded by Dublin City Council, Enterprise Ireland and Belfast City Council, this solution was developed as part of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) challenge that sought new approaches to optimising city-centre deliveries. Competing in the challenge allowed Fernhay, a design and manufacturing consultancy, to develop the new zero-emissions delivery solutions for UPS to trial.