10th May 2021
The French government has launched a national plan for cycle logistics, backed by €12 million of funding.
Deliveries in towns and cities make a big contribution to air pollution. In Paris, delivery vehicles represent 15 to 20% of traffic, but generate 45% of harmful fine particulates.
Cargo bikes can replace motorised transport for trips of less than 5km. The advantage is that they are clean, and need little space at logistics hubs.
Sales of cargo bikes in France were up 354% in 2020, but the national plan envisages increasing this further by creating financial incentives for businesses to use non-polluting modes of delivery.
All towns with 150,000 inhabitants or more will become low emissions zones. The aim is to reduce transport emissions by 28% by 2030, against a 2015 baseline. Another goal is to triple the share of deliveries by non-polluting transport by 2024.
One financial incentive for cargo bike deliveries is through certificates of energy efficiency, that pay cargo bike delivery companies a subsidy of up to €2 per parcel over three years.
There are also subsidies for the purchase of cargo bikes, and a scrappage scheme when businesses swap old motor vehicles for new cargo bikes.
When public contracts are put out to tender, clean transport and logistics will be an important factor in deciding the winning bid.
The big delivery companies will also be encouraged to invest in sustainable delivery methods. La Poste is already increasingly turning to deliveries on foot and by electric-assist cargo bikes.
To facilitate cycle logistics, bike paths and logistics hubs are needed. Public organisations are being asked to give vacant premises over to use as cycle logistics hubs.
The French will look to apply A Guide to Planning Cyclelogistics Hubs to their local context.
Another issue to look at is navigation apps - creating apps that take account of the specific challenges of cycle logistics (width of cycle tracks etc).