Cyclo-logistics: everything you need to know

Have you ever thought about all the steps your online orders go through? Whether it's an individual ordering a shirt or a professional getting goods delivered, the final delivery miles end the same way: in a truck. However, this step is often the most costly both financially and environmentally. So, is cyclo-logistics capable of changing that?

Focus on Cyclo-Logistics

As its name suggests, cyclo-logistics is a method of logistic delivery using bicycles, whether or not they have electric assistance. More specifically, it is defined as "the professional use of bicycles and their derivatives (cargo bikes, tricycles, quadricycles, bike trailers) to deliver goods in urban areas. 

Logistics by bike around the world 

Logistics by bike didn't start yesterday. Indeed, the use of tricycles for transporting goods was already noted in the 1940s. And although it was forgotten for a few decades, cyclo-logistics has made a comeback in several countries. 

Japan, in particular, is very advanced in the field, as are some Nordic countries, the Netherlands, and Germany. Great Britain and Italy are at the same stage as Belgium and are actively developing their cyclo-logistics to catch up with more advanced countries. Like them, many other countries have embarked on the great adventure of cyclo-logistics.

Delivery by bike, why it's a winner

Perhaps you've already heard the phrase "the last mile delivery"? This expression refers to all the agents, operations, and activities implemented during the final segment of the distribution chain. It transfers goods from the nearby storage point to the final delivery point. 

This step is therefore an essential link in the delivery of goods, yet the last mile delivery faces numerous challenges.

  • It represents 20% of the total cost of the chain, making it the most expensive part.
  • It represents 14% of the traffic in Brussels, and being mainly composed of trucks, it occupies 30% of the road space.
  • In terms of ecology, it accounts for 33% of greenhouse gas emissions in the Belgian capital.
  • When unloading goods in double file, it poses an obstacle for other road users.. 

Cyclo-logistics, the future of urban delivery

Cyclo-logistics thus presents a sustainable, fast, and professional alternative to alleviate Brussels from the 16,000 trucks and 26,000 vans circulating in the city.

And, in addition to being an eco-friendly mode of transport, bike delivery has several other compelling advantages:

  1. It's cheaper.
  2. There's ease of delivery in urban areas
  3. It allows for faster delivery times
  4. It provides a more sustainable image of the company to customers
  5. It can be done with electric assistance

However, to make cargo bike delivery more efficient, sustainable logistics requires the presence of storage space near the city center. These spaces don't necessarily have to be warehouses but can be located in the basement of a building or other underutilized spaces. This reduces the distance between the starting point and the delivery point, thus decreasing courier turnaround time.

The types of vehicles used in cyclo-logistics

As explained earlier, cyclo-logistics doesn't only involve regular bicycles. Here is the presentation of some of these logistic innovations:

  • The cargo bike

The cargo bike is a two or three-wheeled bicycle with either a flat platform or a box. There are models with the platform either at the front or at the rear depending on preferences. Cargo bikes are typically used to transport relatively lightweight and bulky items weighing between 50 and 80 kg.

  • The bike trailer 

This bike, to which a trailer has been added, combines the advantages of both a van and a bike. It thus combines the best of both means of transport to easily deliver large quantities in city centers.

  • Trailer with a capacity of 1 cubic meter
  • Possibility to use bike lanes reserved for bicycles
  • The bike taxi

This method of cyclo-logistics is a vehicle that has the advantage of being able to transport either goods or people. This versatile bike is therefore very useful in certain situations

Brussels Mobility is also involved in cyclo-logistics

As part of the European program "Urban Innovative Actions," the Brussels-Capital Region proposed the CAIRGO BIKE project. This program is implemented by the European Regional Development Fund and provides financial support to cities to develop innovative solutions to urban challenges.

The CARGO BIKE project proposed by Brussels Mobility aims to primarily improve air quality in the city by encouraging the professional or private use of cargo bikes for the transportation of goods and people. The project is among the 11 projects out of 222 to have been selected, thus receiving a funding amount of 4.7 million euros from the European Union to support its implementation. 

And the potential of this eco-friendly logistics alternative is immense: in the capital, nearly 50% of goods deliveries and 75% of private trips could be made using cargo bikes. 

Who are the actors in Brussels' cyclo-logistics?

With the constant development of cargo bike delivery in European countries, the list of manufacturers continues to grow. While most of them are located in Denmark or the Netherlands, the rest of Europe is also contributing. For Urbeez, a Brussels-based startup in cyclo-logistics, the origin of their vehicles is important. That's why their manufacturers are exclusively located in Belgium and France.

  • K-Ryole s a French startup currently offering the only cyclo-logistics solution capable of transporting over 1m3/100 kg of cargo in the form of a highly maneuverable bike trailer.. 
  • The company Treebike is based in Brussels, from where it develops an extended range of electrically assisted tricycles tailored for professional transportation needs.

You want to be part of the change and integrate cyclo-logistics into your business, but you're not sure where to start? Don't hesitate to turn to Urbeez, which offers innovative and effective solutions for integrating sustainable logistics into the city.
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