Lyreco Switzerland: Delivery with Cargo Bikes
In 2016, Lyreco Switzerland embarked on an innovative pilot project called "Delivery with Cargo Bikes" (German: "Auslieferung mit Rikschas”) in collaboration with an external partner. The project aimed to make deliveries as CO2-neutral as possible in the old town of Bern, using a combination of human and electric-assisted pedal power. With increasing restrictions on vehicle access in cities, the use of cargo bikes allows continuous delivering throughout the day, even during traffic limitations. This article explores the successful implementation of the cargo-bike project and highlights the problems it has solved on the journey to become one of the first cargo deliveries of that kind in Switzerland, according to the motto: "While everyone talks about it, we do it."
Presently, Lyreco Switzerland utilizes
six cargo bikes to serve their customers, with two bikes assigned to each of the cities - Zurich, Bern, and Basel. The cargo-bikes are allowed to reach a maximum speed of 25km/h and have a total weight approval 450kg in Switzerland, which can be even up to 580kg in EU-countries. This overall weight allows a payload of 130kg (260kg in the EU). The electrical traction helps up to 6 km/h and the battery charge is sufficient for approx. 80-100 km. Currently, the cargo-bike delivery drivers have an average tour of about 40km daily and they deliver on average 95 packages during 45 stops with an overall payload of 650kg. The deliveries are made year-round, no matter the weather conditions and the Lyreco drivers are proud to be part of the Lyreco cargo bike fleet.
"The riders are resilient, braving sun, cold, wind, and all weather conditions. We are seeking riders who embrace the outdoors in every weather, as we deliver year-round with cargo bikes. These individuals are driven by their commitment to the environment and making a positive impact."
The Bike Procurement Challenge
Changing from a larger motorised vehicle to an cargo bike came with two major challenges. The first one, was the procurement of a suitable cargo bike and getting the approval for Swiss roads. Lyreco Switzerland took on a pioneering role in this regard since such vehicles were not yet widely available or approved by Swiss road traffic authorities. By collaborating with the German manufacturer UrbanMobility, a cargo bike was customized to meet Swiss requirements and successfully obtained road traffic approval. The manufacturer provided extensive support and a good partnership throughout this process, which
Overcoming Delivery Challenges
The second challenge in operating delivery services with bicycles is ensuring economic viability. The tour planning, including the distance to the reloading hub need to be as optimised as possible. To address this, Lyreco Switzerland established a hub within the delivery area, enabling shorter travel distances for the drivers to reload the cargo bikes. As comparison, to match the volume capacity of a traditional delivery van, the cargo bike would need to complete about 5-7 rounds daily. By strategically planning routes, the company can operate efficiently, even during peak traffic hours, avoiding congestion and delays caused by other delivery providers.
Future Challenges on Expansions
Although the cargo-bike project has been successful in three large cities, implementing it in other Swiss cities poses new challenges. Ensuring a consistent delivery volume and identifying suitable hubs where vehicles can be stationed and recharged are critical factors in maintaining delivery efficiency and reliability, particularly in the face of unforeseen absences.
Impact: Impressing Customers & Inspiring Change
Customers are often amazed and delighted when they learn that Lyreco Switzerland delivers their shipments using cargo bikes. These eye-catching bikes become a spectacle in pedestrian zones, capturing attention and raising awareness about sustainable delivery alternatives. Delivering sustainably what every workplace
Lyreco Switzerland's cargo-bike project demonstrates the potential of sustainable and efficient last-mile delivery solutions, when initial pioneering work is accomplished and approval and procurement of vehicles are successful.
The initiative not only provides a practical solution for last-mile delivery but also contributes to reducing CO2 emissions and promoting environmental consciousness. As more cities embrace sustainable transportation options, the cargo-bike project serves as an inspiring example for others to follow, fostering a greener future for urban logistics.
Are you curious to hear more? Contact us at email@example.com.
This blog post has been collaboratively written with Franz Hollenstein, Delivery Manager at Lyreco Switzerland.