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Funded by Dublin City Council, Enterprise Ireland and Belfast City Council, Fernhay's unique solution was developed as part of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) challenge that sought new approaches to optimising deliveries. Participating in the challenge enabled Fernhay, to develop the new zero emissions delivery solutions for global logistics carrier, UPS, to trial.
The eWalker https://fernhay.com/our-products/eWalker and eQuad https://fernhay.com/our-products/eQuad operate from “urban package eco hubs” that UPS has introduced around the city. The eco-hubs take in larger consignments of deliveries and redistribute them to walkers and cyclers using removable Cube containers . There are already two of these mini distribution centres up and running in Dublin which has facilitated the removal of five diesel vehicles from the road, reducing carbon emissions by up to 45%.
Speaking at the launch, Owen Keegan, Dublin City Council Chief Executive, said: “collaboration is key to tackling the challenges facing our city right now so we are very happy to see our Transportation Department and Smart City programme working with innovative partners such as Fernhay and UPS to address last mile deliveries. This solution helps the city adapt to the Covid-19 situation by enabling foot and bike deliveries and discouraging the return of congestion.”
UPS International Sustainability Director, Peter Harris, said: “This is about reimagining last mile logistics. Cities need solutions that eliminate emissions and congestion and this system achieves that. But it goes further. The ability to load the box that the eWalker and the eQuad carry anywhere within our network will help UPS operate more efficiently. Taking this concept of removable containers, long since practiced in long haul freight, into the urban environment is a game changer and furthers UPS’s long-standing commitment to bring its customers sustainable solutions.”
The UPS/ Fernhay partnership won SBIR support because it encourages safer, cleaner, more pedestrian friendly urban environments, and for its potential replicability in other contexts.
Last mile deliveries may never be the same again.