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Ford is helping 40 traders at London’s Billingsgate Market make their deliveries more sustainable.

The pilot, which started in March and is continuing until August, has seen traders use a shared fleet of Ford Pro connected vans including an all-electric E-Transit.

As a result of the electric van and more efficient delivery routing using DHL Supply Chain software, Ford believes that CO2 emissions have dropped by more than one-third and almost 950 fewer van journeys have taken place, helping to reduce air pollution and congestion.

The seven refrigerated Ford Pro vehicles are equipped with sensors that feed real-time data into Ford Pro Telematics 4 and Ford’s Liive 5 connected uptime system to support fleet managers in monitoring the efficiency, condition, and health of the vans.

Ford says that the data helps fleet managers monitor and manage remaining oil life, AdBlue levels, and tyre pressures to reduce the likelihood of unscheduled downtime. Fleet managers are also alerted to punctures or windscreen damage and can schedule required servicing and repairs around operating hours to minimise the impact on productivity.

Ford Billingsgate Unloading

“The delivery service is now getting better and better, so we’re not using our vans anymore,” said Youssef Archi, Director of Ish Seafood, a stall which has been trading in Billingsgate since 2015 and supplies fishmongers in and around London. The business used to run its deliveries using two vans.

“Before, every time we got a new customer we needed a new van, which was just more headache for us. Now, we can just focus on getting more customers.”

Mark Button, Managing Director of Barney’s Billingsgate Ltd, concurs:

I don’t usually take on new customers that aren’t on my existing routes. Now, I can send the parcels via the delivery service and they arrive the same day. It’s cheaper than customers coming here and cheaper than me doing it. It can only be better for the environment that we use fewer vans. I would use a multi-drop-off service.”

Barney’s Billingsgate Ltd is a jellied eel and shellfish wholesaler that has been trading for 60 years in London’s largest fish market. According to Button, the pilot scheme has helped the business attract new customers. 

The trial is part of the City Corporation’s aim to reduce the environmental impact of its wholesale markets through innovation, including the planned relocation of Billingsgate, Smithfield and New Spitalfields markets to Dagenham Dock. Electric vehicle charging has been installed in the market car park.

“Our historic wholesale markets have been serving Londoners for hundreds of years. But to face up to the climate challenge, we cannot continue with business as usual,” says Chris Hayward, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation.

“This pilot has proved that using different modes of delivery not only reduces emissions and traffic, but can also offer a better service to both our market traders and their customers.”

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