However the initiatives come essentially from carriers

April 8, 2012 12:00 AM
However the initiatives come essentially from carriers

Between a sender and its recipient, an express parcel through a string composed of many links. The last of the final distribution, is often called the "last mile" by professionals. Its cost is highly variable depending on the local environment, but it is generally the more expensive link to the expressistes which the string is stretched from end to end because of guaranteed times. Patrick Aguirre, Director of DHL Express France messaging, believes that the last mile is on average to about 30 of the total cost of express transport. Christophe Thiebaud-Girard, Director General operational Sernam, adds that the cost of the Terminal distribution in the express has increased by 30 to 50 in ten years agglomerations.

"Last-mile problem of cost because it is the link in the transport where there is least grouping and where trucks leave incomplete," says maxim of Hauteville, who teaches at the master of logistics of Paris-Dauphine. In rural areas are the distances between recipients that explain the low vehicle filling. In the city, are the slowdowns that prohibit productive tours in the hypercentres.


First traffic congestion, then municipal policies that slow speeds and restrict traffic (pedestrian areas or lines of tramway for example), parking and delivery schedules. "Paris municipal policy has cost us 10 points of productivity between 2003 and 2005", says a representative of DHL, which adds "needed to be done with and we signed the Charter of good practice with TLF and the city of Paris". Cities also react to environmental violations: "we must move towards less polluting, hybrid or electric vehicles," says Hervé Seat, marketing director of TNT Express. Christophe Thiebaud-Girard, of Sernam, notes that "in Paris, ten years ago, you could put on average 40 deliveries in a truck, today can no longer be only 25". The result is an increase in the number of trucks because they do smaller tours. The phenomenon was further accentuated because many sites of carriers were pushed out on the periphery.

But one of the most serious difficulties of this ultimate link concerns supplies to individuals, artisans and professionals. When packages are delivered to a trade or business, it is less likely to find is closed. But for individuals, more incidents may slow down the tour, a vague address, impossible parking nearby, an access code, and, above all, a missing recipient. "Deliveries of the"B to C"are longer, more complex and the risk of"re-delivery"is higher." "Same cost is distributed over a smaller volume of goods", analysis maxim of Hauteville. "Last-mile becomes a puzzle that affects the profitability of"B to C"transit", confirms Hervé Seat of TNT Express.

Carriers are therefore a work of Ant. The first way to reduce the extra cost is organizational. Jean-François Condamine, General Manager of UPS France, thus seeks to increase densities of shipments (for example, the number of customers delivered by street), to reduce the unit cost of the package. "We dissect regularly, he explained, each microzone delivery to analyse the stops, the timing and readjustment it needed tours." Packages that weigh an average of 2.5 to 3 kg are stored on shelves inside vehicles, according to the course of the tour, to go faster. The objective is to browse the least possible kilometres using the maximum of customers.

Second solution of the carriers, the relay points to consolidate multiple recipients on the same location and thus better load vehicles. Hervé Seat, TNT, says that they "allow use nearly home individuals and professionals in particular profile". And even for those that require a delivery at home but who are absent, the deliveryman package to the nearest parcel relay, then informs the recipient SMS. Ciblex implemented, over the past two years, a network of points of proximity where repair technicians can fetch spare parts in the morning before their departure on tour and deposit coins in return. This network includes 3000 A2 tobacconists step, 300 mailboxes key dedicated to a client in gas stations and 100 agencies own or partners. DHL uses urban automata Consignity, some urban shops and also spent an agreement with the A2 network not.

Find adapted vehicles

A third way to cut costs in the last mile is to find suitable vehicles. First small utilities. They return, while more expensive than larger carriers since the salary of the deliveryman is divided into a smaller amount of goods, but small full vehicles are better than large empty trucks. Chronopost has built small electric carts for the hypercentres and Sernam circulated electric vehicles of 600 kg of payload in Toulouse. In districts with high density of the heart of Paris, the bikes to electric assistance of the small Queen know a true success. They can carry up to 150-200 kg, circulate in bus and bicycle lanes and parking on the sidewalks. They are used by DHL or Ciblex. "This system has allowed divided by six our traffic of vehicles, motorized in Paris." "We expect to use in Bordeaux and Lyon," said Béatrice Opportu-Leclerc, Director of marketing of Ciblex. TNT imported scooters to pedal and electric assistance of the Netherlands it uses own in Lyon. It plans to implement in the centres of the nine most large French cities.

But many other pathways are explored by the carriers in the city: micro platforms to the limit of hypercentres hence leave lighter vehicles, use of trams, Metro, RER, river access, shipments of night before the time of the traffic jams in sas secure... However the initiatives come essentially from carriers. As observed by Daniel Boudouin, researcher in order-LOG in Aix-en-Provence: "urban logistics is the poor relative of the reflections in the institutional: it organizes the city from the movement of people and not of the goods.".