NCA 2023

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NCA 2023 - Corporate Awards

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Apprenticeship winners, a Road Safety award, Supporting the Sector from Government win,  Eco & Clean Air Awards, Cultural Impact winners, Team Awards and three drivers of Step Change.




David Jamieson Road Safety Award


Arrow XL

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This company has received The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Gold Award for the fourth year.

It is a great achievement and a testament to the hard work and dedication, from everyone in their business, to ensuring safety in our workplaces and community of express final mile.’

Four years in a row for ROSPA Gold goes to Arrow XL.


Supporting the Sector - Government Depts


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Supporting our sector - TfL Bringing acceleration to rapid charge point.

While we have struggled with electric vehicle infastruture, TfL has moved up a gear on charge points. This year they have reached 13,000 charge points in London, 940 of which are rapid charge points.
Almost a thousand rapid charge points for London.

With 121 thousand plug-in cars registered in London. ‘TfL focus is on delivering rapid charging.’ Carolina Buneder, ‘ We are looking at HGVs, we have started a scheme for engagement, we want to develop our strategy further with operators to provide the best matched infrastructure. We are looking at charging infrastructure needs – the next forward is focus of your need. We are asking where are your hot spot needs in London? We are aware where vans are registered, but where do they need charging infrastructure?’

Decarbonisation - Eco & Clean Air Award

Two winners in decarbonisation


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O’Donovan Waste

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Final mile Decarbonisation with HVO fuel to whole fleet.

Decarbonisation in Central London for final mile. This final mile transport company has become a passionate advocating for clean air in transport. In September 2022, they made the monumental decision to operate the entire fleet of 100 lorries in London move solely to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil fuel, (HVO).

Decarbonisation of whole fleet to HVO. A sustainable and 100% renewable fuel that eliminates up to 90% of net carbon dioxide emissions.

This transport company is a genuine inspiration for decarbonisation of transport. It’s leader, Jacqueline O’Donovan is an undisputed champion leading clean air in final mile.

O'Donovan had announced their Net Zero Pledge in June 2022 and is working to help tackle the climate emergency by aiming to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2035, through its eco fleet procurements policies, training, vehicle enhancements and promoting a greener culture to improve O’Donovan’s credentials across the operation and set the benchmark for the industry.

O'Donovan is the first waste management company in the UK to switch its entire fleet to sustainably sourced hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). This is a huge step with HVO costings averaging at roughly 20 pence per litre more than regular diesel over the first three months of use. However, the benefits are monumental. The switch to HVO for the whole fleet took place in October 2022 and while the 2022 figures contain just three months of HVO use, the reduction in carbon emissions has had a substantial impact on the fleet’s emissions. 2022 total fleet CO2 emissions have been reduced by 43%, N0x by 48% and PM10 reduced by 35%. In 2023,

O'Donovan’s carbon production will reduce even further. The O'Donovan team feels HVO has a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions now, while the necessary improvements to vehicle availability and charging infrastructure are put in place to support a fully battery-electric vehicle fleet. Whilst active trials of electric lorries are ongoing in the interim, O'Donovan has taken the steps to place the environment before profit.

When interviewed recently on the topic, Jacqueline had this to say. “We have to face facts and step up as business leaders – the climate change crisis needs immediate action and we all have a part to play. I would hope that our bold move will spur other companies to follow in a bid to minimise their own environmental impact.”

Jacqueline added, “There is no doubt that our switching to solely HVO will have a colossal effect on our client’s scope 3 supply chain emissions and it will greatly assist them to massively reduce their carbon emissions. In this day and age, there is no room for complacency anymore and procurement departments need to concentrate on the companies that are placing the environment at the heart of their business strategy.”



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For Decarbonisation to reach half million zero emission EV cargo bike delivery target.

Evri London Cargo bike focus in Wimbledon SW19

Expanding e-cargo with Zoomo - 15 bikes for South West London, Wimbeldon - 60% faster than vans – bringing full decarbonisation with zero emission final mile delivery

A continued investment in sustainable methods of delivery recently expanded their e-cargo bike fleet! This company partnered with Zoomo to provide 15 new e-cargo bikes to their London Wimbledon depot. This will help them reach a target of 500,000 e-cargo bike deliveries within the next year.

Evri to achieve half a million zero emission deliveries in Central London by zero emission cargo bikes. Head of ESG Nancy Hobhouse said: "Research shows that e-cargo bikes deliver goods 60% faster than vans in city centres while reducing carbon emissions by 90% compared to diesel vans and one-third compared to electric vans.”

Cultural Impact Award

Two winners in category for Cultural Impact.

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Homeless connect packs in Belfast

Kudos to this brand team and Homeless Connect Northern Ireland for cultural impact, creating a beautiful impact on homelessness and nurturing food sustainability. This brand has pledged to dedicate a minimum of 250 volunteer hours annually to build these packs and support in fundraising events.

This cultural impact award showcases Incredible efforts by Whistl Belfast colleagues! They've built 40 starter packs for Homeless Connect NI, helping individuals in transitioning from homelessness to a place they can truly call home.

The Brand is Whistl. Homeless Connect NI is a charity that works in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, to provide essential packs to those transitioning out of homelessness. Additionally, FareShare NI, their regional food sharing project, partners with supermarkets and food producers to tackle food waste and supply long-life items for the packs.

Smiths news go national with recycle returns on their way back from delivering the nightly miracle of media.

This brand delivers across the UK retail doorsteps.

They are recognised in the cultural impact award as they introduced a return route for recycling and have taken the next step to go national.

Over five hundred members are benefitting from a low-cost daily recycling collection service introduced for its independent retail customers that has gone national!


Smiths News

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Delivering the nightly miracle of news media across the UK, originally rolled out the recycle scheme in the North West, the scheme now has more than 500 members.

Smiths News Recycle is designed to help retailers manage soft plastics and bulky cardboard left over from stock deliveries and trips to the cash-and-carry. Those participating are provided with bags for their recycling. There is no need to book a collection slot – the bags are simply left out with newspaper returns for Smiths News delivery drivers to take away at the same time, ensuring that no extra journeys are made. Customers can take advantage of as many collections as they want. Some might require several a week, while others need only one. This no-fuss service is available for a single flat-rate fee added to their weekly news bill, with no ties and the freedom to opt out whenever they like. If customers sign up now, they can benefit from six weeks’ free unlimited collections and a £3.50 weekly charge thereafter – no lengthy contracts, they can cancel any time.

Recycle allows Smiths News to support its customers in a practical way, saving them money with a more competitive, cost-effective service than the one they might previously have subscribed to. Michael Williams, Smiths News’ Head of Proposition Development “The reaction to Recycle from our customers in the North West has been amazing,”. “Early trials revealed that recycling was costly and a pain to manage, so it is fantastic to find a solution that so many of our customers have chosen to sign up to. Taking Recycle to the rest of our customers was an easy decision to make.”


Team Award - Collaboration



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Absolutely supporting logistics for change at Lloyds Pharmacy.

Delivering a solution, with security, confidentially and total accuracy in the pharmacy High Street. A whole team delivery that even stretched to ambient and cold in final mile. This courier company were approached by a Healthcare provider in November last year to discuss confidentially some changes in their business. They said that a number of their Pharmacy stores would be divested over the course of the next year. It became a thousand locations. The team delivered it with exact timescales/
On the final day for the Pharmacy stores hand over of the keys to the new owners, a courier was required on each occasion to collect confidential data parcels from the given store for onward distribution to many streams of locations. The driver would need to arrive at a specific time with ID and provide a receipt for the items to the branch manager. It was a team effort of co-ordination and more than one express brand was in the mix.

Sameday specialist, Absolutely couriers were the Express courier company approached were approached by Hallo Healthcare in November last year to discuss confidentially some changes in their business. They said that a number of Lloyds Pharmacy stores would be divested over the course of the next year. On the final day that Lloyds Pharmacy hand over the keys to the new owners, a courier was required on each occasion to collect some confidential data parcels from the given store for onward distribution to several locations. The driver would need to arrive at a specific time with ID and provide a receipt for the items to the branch manager.

The confidential items collected, were to be stored at a North west London depot securely, consolidated and then forwarded to various sites. Those sites included;

• One stream to HR and Treasury Data
• Another stream to NHS processing centre for Prescription Submissions Boxes
• Deliveries of confidential waste disposal
• further deliveries for archiving

Following a successful trial in November and December 2022, the Absolutely team secured these movements for the Lloyds Divestment Project. Over the 1000 mark by end of September with the project winding down by the end of year.
This project has been powered by a broad and string team, led by Stuart Rees, supported primarily by Paul Abley, Ian Christian and Trevor Crane. In April and June 2023, we gained additional Temperature Controlled project work on the back of good performance with Divestment collections. When Hallo Healthcare closed their Lloyds Pharmacies in Sainsburys Supermarkets, we moved their stock including pharmaceuticals that needed controlling at a specific temperature range, to a local Lloyds Pharmacy. This ensured that they did not lose millions of pounds worth of stock during the closure and helped safeguard against irresponsible disposal.

The team went beyond our own brand. It would be fair to say that there have been times that we were anxious due to the volume of collections and unpredictable nature in an everchanging environment. However, they were few and far between and we need not have worried because the team embraced the challenge and we had great support from other Absolutely branches and CitySprint and Speed Northern on the Temperature Controlled project work.

As we near the completion of this collaborative project, we can look back with pride at how successful it’s been. It highlights the capacity and potential of an individual depot to support a national project with the network and infrastructure of the courier industry. This can be used as an example for future prospects. We have a proven record of handling a major project and securely moving and storing confidential data.

Paul Abley’s main contribution was project managing the Temperature Controlled aspect which was 452 jobs between April and June. He also supported the Divestment Project as required.
Ian Christian mostly handled the storage and distribution of the collected items at our depot. Ensuring items collected were identified, compliant and then moved into appropriate area for onward distribution. He also forwarded the checked paperwork, a list of items collected from each branch, to me for entry onto Lloyds storage log.
Trevor Crane has often been the person dealing with any driver’s issues with collections. Mostly pickups are in the evening. He also has supported with project management and service in my absence.

There also should be a big shout out to the couriers at London North. These guys have worked tirelessly, long and unsociable hours, often being away from their families for days with overnight stays and very late finishes. This project would not have been a success without their hard work and commitment.


Step Change Award

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Varamis Rail

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Parcels to rail for multi modal electric train to door.

Network Rail and Varamis Rail launches zero carbon Midlands to Glasgow

Bringing step change. This new company, recognised the accelerating the demand to find a more environmentally friendly solution to moving parcels, products, and light goods around the UK; A cross dock, multimodal decarbonisation focused on delivery between Midlands and Scotland.

Promoting and delivering a sustainable solution that the railway has to offer to final mile over a credible distance that wins time and delivers clean air. This brand new service delivered a winning combination of passenger rail access to roller cage parcels on electric trains for a fast shuttle between Middle England and Scotland every night of the week.

The new company is Varamis Rail working with Network. Varamis Rail is the UK’s newest train operator, have worked together to launch an innovative, zero carbon freight service. The service, which launched this year, runs between Scotland and the Midlands, Monday to Friday. Targeted at express parcels and third-party delivery companies, it will primarily deal with next day delivery of consumer goods.

Industry partners, Eversholt Rail, have converted a number of fully electric 4-car trains formerly used in passenger service to enable them to carry freight while Network Rail provided the necessary operating licenses, contracts, and train paths for the service to operate. This followed trial operations of the service, which commenced in October 2022, to test the robustness and practicality of the service, and enabled logistics companies to test the service..

Georgie Newby, Network Rail’s Senior Commercial and Customer Relationship Manager, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support the launch of this innovative new service from the latest Freight Operating Company to join the network. It is the result of hard work and dedication across multiple organisations, all working closely together to deliver a great, zero carbon service for logistics companies to use. We look forward to delivering other innovations to keep growing the amount of parcel logistics transported by rail.”

Varamis Rail Managing Director, Phil Read, added: “As the UK's newest Train Operator, Varamis Rail is keen to promote the sustainable benefits that the railway has to offer to the UK economy along with Network Rail. The increase in online shopping and home deliveries over recent years has accelerated the demand to find a more environmentally friendly solution to moving our parcels, products, or light goods around the UK; one solution is the electrified rail network. “Varamis Rail is incredibly appreciative of the support it has received from Network Rail to enable a start-up of its operations and we look forward to building on this relationship as the rail industry looks to play its part in decarbonising’ the UK.”

The new service, which launched on the 09 January, is fully electric, supports Network Rail and the rest of the rail industry, as an environmentally friendly alternative to road haulage. It gives access to urban rail stations located within the heart of city centres and is expected to benefit the rail industry in the future as an example of best practice.



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Robots to ten cities

Bringing step change with national roll out of robot delivery. We have seen robots at door but this company has confirmed plans to expand autonomous robot deliveries to 10 UK towns and cities in the next 12 months.

‘The first trial in Milton Keynes has been a huge success for us. The robots have exceeded our expectations, and the feedback has been fantastic. We can see people's reactions when they meet them, and it is overwhelmingly positive.

DPD brings robot delivery to ten cities across UK. Raunds becomes DPD's second robot base following successful Milton Keynes trial. DPD has confirmed plans to expand autonomous robot deliveries to 10 UK towns and cities in the next 12 months, following a successful trial in Milton Keynes, starting with Raunds in Northamptonshire. The announcement extends DPD's relationship with AI-powered robotics and last mile delivery specialists, Cartken and follows work by DPD that identified up to 30 UK depot locations which could potentially deploy robots. Cartken's level 4 autonomy and leading micro-AV technology platform is regarded as one of the safest last mile delivery solutions on the market and enables full autonomy on footpaths with only cameras - one of the only companies in the autonomous vehicle delivery space to achieve this with a purely vision-based system.

DPD first introduced the Cartken robots in Milton Keynes in July 2022 and they have since travelled almost 500 miles and successfully performed over 2,500 trips delivering parcels to DPD customers. Based at DPD's depot at Warth Park on the western edge of Raunds, the robots will deliver to nearby residential areas within a mile of the depot, via the existing network of footpaths. In Raunds, the robots will have three separate parcel compartments, instead of just one in the original trial, and an extended battery life of up to 12 hours.

DPD parcel recipients in Raunds will be notified of a robot delivery in advance, and once they confirm that they are at home to accept the parcel, the robot will be dispatched.
Customers will then be able to track the robot's progress on a map and are notified when it reaches their property. They then use a code to open the secure compartment and access their parcel. Once the compartment is closed, the robot will either continue to its next delivery or return to the depot.

DPD has worked closely with North Northamptonshire Council on the introduction of the robots in Raunds. Cllr Graham Lawman, North Northamptonshire Council's Executive Member for Highways, Travel and Assets, said: "We are delighted that DPD is introducing delivery robots in Raunds. The council is committed to the environment and supporting clean and green alternatives to traditional forms of transport to reduce emissions. It is great to be able to help bring this innovation to North Northamptonshire."

Tim Jones, Director of Marketing, Communications & Sustainability DPDgroup UK commented, "The trial in Milton Keynes has been a huge success for us. The robots have exceeded our expectations, and the feedback has been fantastic. We can see people's reactions when they meet them, and it is overwhelmingly positive. We set out to understand the role that delivery robots could play in certain locations in the UK and the trial has helped us identify more sites where we could deploy the robots successfully. "Our aim is to be the UK's most sustainable delivery company and that means investing in innovations and trying new things. We are well on our way to decarbonising our van fleet with EVs and we are also making a big step forward by switching our HGVs to renewable biofuel, but we are also interested in brand new solutions that can help us transition to a smarter, more sustainable future."

Cartken Co-Founder and COO, Anjali Jindal Naik, commented, "Autonomous mobility will be a key lever for decarbonisation, as it transforms last-mile transportation into a much greener process. By partnering with delivery companies, such as DPD, we're propelling this transformation forward, making sustainable delivery the norm, rather than a nice to have. "2023 has been a year of tremendous growth for Cartken and we're only in Q2. Developing our partnership with DPD is a critical step in expanding our presence globally, beginning with the UK, while also being at the forefront of sustainable last-mile delivery by cutting down on C02 emissions."


Royal Mail

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Drones to Highlands and Islands become permanent mail delivery

The first drone delivery by Royal Mail was 2020 to a remote lighthouse on the Isle of Mull. Over the last twelve months, Royal Mail have been trialling drone technology to assess whether it can better serve remote and island communities.

Bringing step change Royal Mail and Skyport Drone Services launched this year the nations first permanent UAV delivery service. Six kg of mail delivered between the village of Stromness on Orkney’s main island and the nearby islands of Hoy and Graemsay,

Over the last twelve months, Royal Mail have been trialling drone technology to assess whether it can better serve remote and island communities. The first drone delivery by Royal Mail was 2020 to a remote lighthouse on the Isle of Mull using a smaller vertical take-off and landing Uncrewed Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The latest trial was held last month (April) on the Shetland Islands in partnership with Windracers. Test flights for the new service saw Royal Mail deliver mail between Tingwall Airport in Lerwick to Unst - a 50-mile flight each way. Unst has a population of around 630 people and is Britain’s most northerly inhabited island. In October 2021, Royal Mail trialled scheduled, autonomous flights for two weeks between Kirkwall and North Ronaldsay (both in the Orkney Islands) with Windracers Ltd. In doing so they took the first steps towards Royal Mail’s goal of developing permanent, reliable, lower emission delivery solutions for remote communities entirely by an UAV. In May 2021 they conducted a one-month trial of a Government-funded “air bridge” from the Cornish mainland to the Isles of Scilly, which saw us use a larger fixed wing UAV to deliver essential mail, PPE and COVID testing kits to the islands approximately 70 miles beyond visual line of sight.

Future plans - Royal Mail continue to see a number of potential benefits in using UAVs, including increased reliability (e.g. in foggy conditions), additional connectivity for remote communities, better environmental credentials versus conventional air freight and longer term - once legislation allows - reduced costs.

Environmental benefits - The trials have also been looking at the environmental benefits of drone technology, as part of Royal Mail’s continued drive to reduce emissions associated with our operations. With the UK's largest "Feet on the Street" network of over 90,000 postmen and women, Royal Mail already has the lowest reported CO2e emissions per parcel amongst major UK delivery companies. The potential introduction of low emission vehicles, such as UAVs, will help to shape Royal Mail’s long-term environmental strategy, to meet its goals of delivering a cleaner future.




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