Auckland Council is supporting its delivery partner, Urgent Couriers, in its bid to cut inner-city emissions.
The certified carbon zero courier company is aiming to take 40 to 50 tonnes of carbon emissions a year out of inner-city Auckland by replacing its city fleet of cars with electric cargo bikes.
Auckland Council General Manager Corporate Support Services Robert Irvine says the council is providing them with parking and charging stations in the basement of its office building Te Wharau o Tāmaki Auckland House at 135 Albert Street.
“Reducing transport emissions across Tāmaki Makaurau is a key action in Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan, and it’s great to see businesses like Urgent Couriers being innovative when it comes to doing their bit.
“The council has been steadily transitioning over to an electric fleet and we now have the infrastructure in place that enables us to support Urgent Couriers in this initiative that will not only reduce its carbon emissions, but also help to ease congestion in the city centre.
“We are excited to see the benefits that this shift can bring to the city and look forward to working with them to make the rollout a success.”
Urgent Couriers has imported five purpose-built Urban Arrow electric cargo bikes from the Netherlands to service its clients in Auckland’s city centre and inner-city suburbs. The aluminium-framed bikes have a 250-watt motor and can carry a maximum load of 125kg in a lockable waterproof cargo box on the front of the bike.
Urgent Couriers managing director Steve Bonnici says the electric cargo bikes have been proven in markets around the world, but he believes they will be the first of their type to operate in New Zealand and he hopes courier companies in other cities around the country will follow suit. The bikes will service an area extending to Herne Bay, Grey Lynn, Kingsland, Morningside, Mt Eden, Newmarket and Parnell.
“This will provide faster deliveries as the bikes will be able to use the cycle lanes and not be constrained by traffic. It will reduce road congestion and it’s also great news for the environment,” he says.
Mr Bonnici said several factors meant the time was right for the introduction of the cargo bikes, including the availability of proven cargo bike technology, changes to roads and parking spaces in inner city Auckland that give bikes an advantage over cars and the changing nature of courier deliveries from documents to bulkier parcels or fragile items like cakes.
“Urgent Couriers was a pioneer of cycle couriers and at one stage had 11 cycle couriers delivering documents around Auckland’s Central Business District. But the progression of information technology has reduced the demand for physical document deliveries, especially by law firms, and Urgent Couriers now has only a few traditional cycle couriers in the city.
“As a client for mail deliveries, Auckland Council has been supportive of the switch and we hope other clients will embrace the electric cargo bike service the way the council has,” says Mr Bonnici.