Robert Goldwater, sales director of sponsor MyTransport Planner, DPD UK CEO Dwain McDonald and MT editor Steve Hobson

Parcel firm DPD is redefining the way it operates in an urban environment to ensure its 8,000 delivery vehicles reduce their impact on air quality, noise levels and road safety.

With 46% of parcels now destined for city centres, DPD’s Urban Delivery Strategy has seen the launch of a network of micro-depots with all-electric trunking, alongside a wider expansion of its electric fleet to 600 vehicles by the end of 2020. Its first two micro depots opened in Westminster and Shoreditch in London during 2019, cutting emissions by 95.8 tonnes of CO2 per annum.

Before Westminster, DPD’s 63,000sq ft London City depot (in Southwark) was sending 15 x 3.5-tonners into London every day and clocking up 614 miles; before Shoreditch the firm’s 37,500sq ft Barking depot was sending 20 3.5-tonne diesel vehicles into central London every day, clocking up 773 miles.

Thanks to DPD’s all-electric vehicles and micro-depot strategy, its miles travelled per parcel have been almost halved and this more efficient operation now produces just 0.138 tonnes of CO2 per month, versus 8.67 tonnes of CO2 before the sites opened. A third micro depot is now running in Hyde Park, with a total of eight planned across the capital.

A pioneering approach to its fleet has also seen DPD source all-electric Paxster micro vehicles from Norway, while developing an eCargo bike with UK start-up EAV. It has also ordered 100 of the new 3.5-tonne MAN eTGE.

Outside the capital, the business has been rolling out its urban strategy with 55 electric vans now located at 16 depots nationally. In the past six weeks of 2019 it delivered 368,000 parcels using 139 EVs, up from zero parcels in Q3 2018. In a 12-month period it reduced nationwide CO2 emissions by 293.4 tonnes.

DPD has also rolled out driver training for new electric technology, as well as supporting drivers to adopt home charging with funding of £250 and help to access government grants.

It also continues to focus on driver safety training, ensuring full compliance with London’s incoming Direct Vision Standard.

Judges said: “This was great use of technology and different operating models to protect the urban environment.”

"Winning the urban category is recognition that we have re-engineered our product to be greener and emissions free. So it’s not just about electric vehicles, it’s also about changing the network infrastructure to get closer to the customer, and our urban strategy is a cornerstone of that. So it’s fantastic that Motor Transport have recognised us for our investment in that."

Dwain McDonald