TfL is looking to help businesses in specific areas retime their deliveries this year, as part of its work to promote delivery flexibility.

Up until now much of TfL's retiming work has been based around single locations.

It is also extending its research into the costs and benefits of quiet equipment, as well as developing quiet delivery training and assessments for drivers, managers and goods receivers.

Speaking at last month’s LoCity event, Jaz Chani, freight project manager at TfL, spoke of the progress made by the Retiming Deliveries Consortium.

The consortium was set up after the London 2012 Olympic Games to explore the long-term potential of out-of-hours trials, which took place during the six-week event and shifted 15% of deliveries out of peak times.

“We carried out trials before, during and after the Games and continue this now, which have demonstrated the benefits to a particular business or site.

"We now aim to demonstrate area-wide impacts [such as air quality benefits] and to multiple different types of businesses, both large and small,” she said.

The consortium comprises TfL, three London Boroughs, London Councils, FTA, RHA, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, the Noise Abatement Society and law firm Ashfords.

It has now created a series of working groups to take the trials forward and expand into other sectors, while also seeking to develop a Memorandum of Understanding and a framework for boroughs to adopt for quiet deliveries.

TfL has set itself a target of retiming 500 sites and 4,000 deliveries in the capital, and has so far reached 144 sites, with a further 13 already being investigated for retiming potential and more than 200 stakeholders engaged with.

Chani said that 30% of all traffic within the Congestion Charging Zone (CCZ) in the morning is freight, with 22% of all freight trips daily within the CCZ taking place between 7am and 10am – a high percentage with a lot of unused capacity at other times.

“We are a 24 hour city and we need to make better use of this,” she added. “We also recognise you can't retime everything, and that any retiming is done in the right way. There is no point moving steel girders at 3am and expecting everyone to be OK with that.”

Efforts to retime freight deliveries fit closely within three key aims of new London mayor Sadiq Khan’s manifesto commitments, Chani added: improving air quality, ensuring safety and tackling congestion.

  Box: Benefits of retiming sites

  • Martin Browers (pictured), which carries out deliveries for McDonald's Restaurants, achieved £3,000 in PCN charges from one site alone in London through retiming, and was also able to reduce its national fleet size by 18 vehicles through this approach across its network.
  • DHL achieved a 60% cost reduction by retiming one customer's site, halving the number of deliveries, which resulted in a 2-tonne reduction in CO2 emissions.
  • A Greater London trial in Sutton saw AS Watson moving forward deliveries to the high street Savers store from 6am, to 5am and eventually 4am with no local complaints received at all during the 12-month trial period. Each journey saw CO2 drop by 6.5%, with journey time down by 18%.
  • The Waitrose store in Fulham gained temporary relaxation of planning conditions to enable out-of-hours deliveries. Moving the delivery by two hours saw no change in background noise or complaints.
  • Tesco has retimed 50 stores within the M25, with a further 300 planner nationwide, while Sainsbury’s carries out 60% of its deliveries outside of peak hours.

TfL has already produced best practice guidance about out-of-of-hours deliveries for all parties, as well as produced a series of case studies and information videos, such as using low-noise roll cages (see below).