Cargo bike in motion -  ridden by person in yellow high viz jacket and wearing a cycling helmet.

Fast growing local cargo delivery sector powers up on path to future

The explosion of online and app-based shopping has increased the pressure for last-mile delivery. Cargo bikes have been the obvious zero emission choice, with the emerging sector helping address net zero, air quality and decongestion targets.

In this article Transport Xtra’s Juliana O’Rourke looks at new developments and further plans from those in the local micro-delivery field who are gathering for their annual event this month.

Cargo bikes come in a wide range of sizes, styles and formats, from bikes with ‘buckets’ on the front or back to sophisticated roll-on, roll-off container bikes with swappable bodies that can be pre-loaded with pre-packed cargo.

Some are pedal-powered, but the larger models are electrically assisted. They can be bought, leased, acquired second hand or offered via Vehicle-as-a Service models which include maintenance and insurance. Several local authorities and retailers also offer ‘library’ or ‘try before you buy’ schemes, so cargo bikes are becoming ever more accessible to businesses and consumers.

Electric cargo bikes offer a versatile and efficient method of transport: studies have shown that cargo bikes can save time and money as well as the planet, delivering cost savings of 80% to 90% versus a traditional commercial vehicle.

This year’s Cargo Bike Summit takes place on 10 May in London at the Oval where there will be the opportunity to view a range of vehicles and discuss issues and opportunities for the growing and innovative new sector.

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