Hermes is piloting a service in London involving ‘pedestrian couriers’ unloading parcels from Ford vans, which it said reduces vehicle emissions for final mile deliveries.

Vans with full loads drive into the city and park up in safe locations, before a team of couriers unload parcels onto trollies and deliver them to nearby addresses.

The vans then return to the depot to collect the next load.

Hermes said the initiative, developed in collaboration with Ford, helped reduce the number of vehicles on the roads and cut air pollution.

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It said a team of eight pedestrian couriers and two vans delivered the same number of parcels as six vans making conventional doorstep deliveries.

Hermes added that it was relying on “intelligent logistics software” that identified safe, convenient locations for the vans to park up.

Carl Lyon, Hermes UK COO, said: “We’re exploring new delivery initiatives that can reduce emissions for the final mile delivery as part of our commitment to sustainability and getting ahead of future legislation in cities, such as Ultra Low Emissions Zones.

“In addition, this operating model is easy to scale up to meet the increasing demand for home delivery and opens up the courier work for a whole new workforce who no longer need to drive or own a vehicle and want to stay active.”