News & Blog
The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) are looking for the best innovators to apply for an innovation challenge, London FreightLab, to develop new ways of tackling some of the biggest issues associated with freight and servicing in London.This new challenge is part of the Mayor's Civic Innovation Challenge, which brings together London’s public and private sector with tech companies to develop solutions to the most pressing problems facing the city, delivered in partnership with Microsoft and the Social Tech Trust.
Freight is the lifeblood of London’s economy, delivering vital goods and services to people and companies across the capital. However, in recent years the capital’s streets have seen a rapid rise in the number of goods vehicles, which have increased by around 20 per cent since 2010. This can contribute to poor air quality, congestion and road danger, which is why the Mayor’s Transport Strategy aims for a 10 per cent reduction in van and lorry use during the morning peak by 2026.
London FreightLab is looking to offer funding, land sites, and subject matter expertise during the pilot stage for up to six innovative ideas, which could be further developed and tested through the London FreightLab challenge. Ideas should help make the way goods move around London safer, cleaner and more efficient.
TfL is working with ten leading industry partners on the challenge, who will be using their expertise in the sector to evaluate the innovative ideas and see whether they could work on a larger scale. The partners TfL will be working with include:
Applications are open to everybody and full details are available here http://www.tech.london/challenges/tackling-congestion. The deadline for applying is midday on 5 February.
Michael Hurwitz, TfL’s Director of Transport Innovation, said: “We want to work with the best market innovators from start-ups to corporates to help solve some of the key challenges that London faces. Freight is essential to London’s economy, but as the number of vans and lorries on our streets continues to go up, so does pollution, congestion and road danger. We believe innovative new ideas could make a real difference in reducing the impact of freight movements on the capital and this is why we’d like to encourage as many companies as possible to collaborate with us to do this.”
David Lawson, Chief Procurement Officer at Guy's and St. Thomas’ NHS Trust, said: “Guy's and St Thomas' is committed to taking a lead role in improving local air quality. Over the last 12 months we have adopted cargo bikes for shipment of blood samples between our sites and opened a new urban consolidation centre. We are looking to work with partners to develop further initiatives that can be both adopted by the hospital and applied at scale.”
This new innovation challenge builds on TfL’s commitment to working with partners to developing innovative solutions to London’s problems. Recent activity includes:
In 2019, TfL launched an ambitious plan to work with boroughs, businesses and the freight and servicing industry to transform how deliveries are made in the capital, reducing road danger and helping to clean up London's toxic air. Key actions in the plan included better coordination of the control of freight movements in London, supporting increased use of water and rail and making freight vehicles safer by launching the HGV Safety Permit Scheme.
Sam Clarke, Gnewt Founder, said: “Gnewt by Menzies Distribution is delighted to be a partner with TfL on the London FreightLab project. Gnewt has itself been innovating constantly in the environmental logistics space in London for over a decade and has worked alongside TfL and the GLA throughout that time. To be involved in this project is both a privilege and an opportunity to actively learn and potentially collaborate with future innovators on concepts that may materially influence the ever-changing London landscape.”
Electric vehicle pioneer Gnewt by Menzies Distribution makes its ten millionth ‘zero-carbon’ parcel delivery as it celebrates 10 years in business
Gnewt by Menzies Distribution, the UK’s first and largest 100% electric delivery fleet, has delivered its ten millionth parcel emission free, saving a total estimated 2.3 million kg of CO2 compared to standard diesel delivery vehicles, demonstrating the positive impact that green delivery can have.
The firm, which pioneered parcel deliveries using electric vehicles (EVs) is also celebrating 10 years in business in which it has:
Gnewt has pioneered all-electric parcel deliveries, building its business in London where its fleet has allowed customers to offer green deliveries with zero tailpipe CO2 and NoX emissions.
The expertise that Gnewt has developed during its first decade in business has been sought out across the logistics industry with the company collaborating with the Mayor of London, leading retailers and motor manufacturers to test new forms of zero emission deliveries and logistics.
In its early days Gnewt worked tirelessly to source the types of electric vans that it needed to fulfil parcel deliveries in London and in doing so, expanded its expertise into the design of bespoke vans, based on EV vehicles supplied by major manufacturers.
Today Gnewt has one of the UK’s largest fully-electric fleets, and the largest 100% electric fleet in the parcels and logistics sector. It has recently grown its postcode delivery capability by 50% and as part of Menzies Distribution, will now be rolling-out EV technology and deliveries across the Menzies Distribution fleet of more than 2000 trucks and vans in 2020. This EV strategy will see the acquisition of new electric vehicles and introduction of the UK’s largest EV rapid charging infrastructure across Menzies’ UK network of 65 depots.
Alongside this, Gnewt has installed the largest privately owned smart charging infrastructure in the UK at its Bow depot. Through this technology it carefully manages the electric fleet requirement everyday as well as discharging energy from vehicles back to the grid or depot at peak times. This innovative approach ensures that the business is sympathetic to the wider ecosystem and furthermore is making steps to positively contribute to future grid demands that vehicle electrification creates.
Sam Clarke of Gnewt by Menzies Distribution stated: “Delivering ten million parcels over 3.5 million emission free miles is a significant milestone for Gnewt and for the environment. When we started the business ten years ago, EVs were regarded as a novelty and many people didn’t see them as a viable part of a mass logistics delivery network.
“Today that has changed beyond all recognition and the work that the team at Gnewt has undertaken has helped shape government and local authority policy and enabled leading retailers to embrace the electric vehicle revolution.
“We are also pleased to see major retail brands getting on board with the future of electric delivery as we gain more and more clients. We are also continuing to work with local authorities and government as we plan to extend into other cities across the UK.
“We are extremely proud of what we have achieved, and we look forward to the next ten years when we intend to continue to disrupt the industry, demonstrate measurable change and expand our London and national operations to bring this pioneering, best in class sustainable solution to more and more offices and homes around the UK.
Adam Smith, Commercial Director at Menzies Distribution commented: “Gnewt is a true innovator, a brand that has led the way in the development of fully electric parcel delivery services.
“We at Menzies Distribution are working to future-proof our UK network of 65 depots and 2000 vehicles.
“Gnewt operates in London, one of the most congested and busy delivery environments in Europe and has proved that even in this city, EVs can work as effectively and with considerable less environmental impact, than conventional diesel vehicles. It’s a great achievement and we are delighted to celebrate this milestone.”
 Verified independently by the University of Westminster
Gnewt, the UK’s largest all-electric delivery fleet, has partnered with carrier integration platform Metapack to expand its delivery services across London.
All retailers on the Metapack platform will now be able to utilise Gnewt’s electric vehicles for their delivery requirements including click and collect. Gnewt will use its London based fleet to process and deliver parcels and deliveries routed through the Metapack platform.
Adam Smith, Commercial & Marketing Director at Menzies Distribution, says: “We are delighted to be working with Metapack and to expand our service, providing clients who desire environmentally friendly, high quality logistics services, another way to use our emission free final-mile and all electric fleet.
“It is an exciting year for Gnewt, as we continue to innovate in line with our green agenda. As well as growing our all-electric fleet, we have installed the UKs largest rapid charging infrastructure with V2G capability, allowing us to transfer energy from our vehicles to the grid. This technology along with the addition of Metapack, and new inflight solutions will further enable us to work seamlessly and provide a distinct offering to new and existing clients.”
2019 has been a successful year for Gnewt by Menzies Distribution, and as we reach our 10th anniversary, we are grateful and proud to have our work recognised by several awards nominations, shortlistings and wins! We’ve also worked with some brilliant partners including the Mayor’s office at City Hall, Transport for London and several universities.
Climate change is not industry specific, and all sectors have had to adapt and innovate to find more carbon efficient ways of working. Freight and deliveries are central to supporting London’s economy, with half the value of the capital’s household expenditure relying on it. However, congestion and air pollution remain one of the biggest problems the city faces.
Gnewt by Menzies Distribution, which has the largest all electric fleet in the UK, has been changing the face of urban delivery for nearly a decade and so far this year has driven over 300,000 emission free miles, saving 189 tonnes of carbon. Environmental concerns have raced to the top of the international agenda this year and we are proud to be pioneers in the delivery of parcels by all-electric fleet. However, being pioneers of such a project comes with the responsibility to continually innovate and lead, a role we have relished over the past year.
Given the scale of our operation, we are acutely aware of the strain that charging our vehicles puts on the grid at peak times. Therefore, not only have we installed the UK’s largest private charging infrastructure but we have also developed a Vehicle to Grid (V2G) solution that maximises efficient use of the grid’s power in a “smart” way, by feeding energy from the vehicles back to the grid at peak times and charging the vehicles during off-peak hours. The 10 V2G units currently under installation at our hub in Bow makes us the proud owners of the largest V2G operation in London.
Carbon emissions from vehicles are not the only cause for concern, plastic is also wreaking havoc in our oceans and for our wildlife. Partnered with our client ASOS, we have started wrapping our vans using environmentally friendly, non-PVC material with ASOS’ signature parcel design and slogan, ‘fresh style, fresher air’, to showcase the efforts the company is making to clean up London’s severely polluted air.
Menzies Distribution is now looking at rolling out the electric delivery service to other cities where congestion and pollution are a growing issue and have recently acquired a further 48 electric vehicles.
Gnewt by Menzies Distribution is delighted that our hard work has been recognised by a number of award shortlistings and wins. To name but a few:
The Logistics Awards - Shortlisted
Fleet 2020 Awards – Shortlisted
Green Fleet Awards – Won
Trans Tech Awards – Won
Corp 2020 – Won
Fleet Hero Awards – Shortlisted
WhatVan – Shortlisted
Institute of Couriers, Driver Excellence award – Won
Institute of Couriers, Clean Air Award – Won
Gnewt by Menzies Distribution, the UK’s largest 100% commercial electric vehicle (EV) delivery service, will trial the use of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology to help power its 70-strong fleet. The trial, part of E-Flex, the broader V2G demonstrator project led by Cisco, will explore the commercial opportunity this technology presents through smarter electricity use and the ability for EVs to release energy back into the grid when they are not in use.
Gnewt is a pioneer in electric delivery and this year it celebrates its 10th year providing urban delivery and continued innovation. Having continually expanded its electric fleet, Gnewt is addressing the way that it charges its vehicles to be even more environmentally friendly and efficient.
Currently, Gnewt has two main depots in East London, with a total of 60 EV interconnected smart chargers. As its fleet of EVs continues to expand, Gnewt is looking for a scalable solution that enables it to deal with high demand for electricity at peak times. Using V2G, Gnewt can manage the provision of electricity across its fleet more proactively, charging vehicles at times of low-demand in preparation for busier ones.
“Over ten years, Gnewt has delivered 10,000,000 parcels across London and minimising the environmental impact of our fleet is one of our core values and fundamental to our strategy. Using EVs, we’ve reduced Co2 emissions by 67%.” said Sam Clarke, Founder and Head of Business Development, Gnewt. “While EVs are critical for a cleaner future, the intense use of the national grid is something we’re looking to reduce our role in. Through E-Flex, we’re able to sustainably carry on with our day-to-day operations, with charging our fleet becoming a less energy dependent exchange especially at peak times.”
E-Flex will install bidirectional chargers at Gnewt’s main depot in East London. With V2G infrastructure in place, electricity can be bought and taken from the grid at off-peak times when it is less expensive. It can also be sold and released back to the grid when energy is in high demand and consumption is more expensive.
“Reducing carbon emissions has never been more of a priority for businesses than it is right now”, said Maria Hernandez, Head of Innovation, Cisco UK & Ireland. “From a commercial standpoint, V2G technology can transform the way urban logistics are powered and is a win-win for fleets and distributors. Reaching carbon neutrality is vital for many organisations, but additionally, E-Flex hopes to prove to businesses the commercial viability of a V2G infrastructure, helping to get the most out of fleets across the country.”
The National Courier Awards recognise the best of the best in our industry. They celebrate excellence in companies large and small, regional and national. This year’s awards were held at the IoD, Pall Mall, London on Tuesday 15th October.
We are pleased to announce that our emission free innovations, along with our driver excellence were recognised with awards.
Miklos Istok Wins Driver Award (Four Wheels)
Miklos works from Bow and has been a driver with Gnewt by Menzies Distribution for over five years. He is particularly exceptional because his attention to detail is unparalleled; careful data entry, signature names clear, always confirming on duty/off duty, delivery always completed.
As well as being a consummate professional and highly efficient at delivery, he not only cleans the inside and outside of his van on a daily basis but even cleans the depot particularly around the drivers’ collection point.
He has delivered thousands of parcels emission-free over the years, with a politely quiet disposition, a smile on his face and never a grumble. He is a credit to our business.
Clean Air Award for Gnewt in partnership with GLA
The end of 2019 will mark the completion of a low emission freight project that trials solutions to cut emissions and congestion from commercial delivery vehicles in urban areas. The findings from the project with Gnewt by Menzies Distribution and the GLA will provide recommendations for the wider roll-out of electric vehicle technology across the freight industry.
The Gnewt/Mayor of London’s Commercial Vehicle Trial compares the performance of innovative electric delivery vans to equivalent diesels. The project, which is part of the Low Emission Freight Trials, funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with Innovate UK concludes later this year and will tie into celebrations and activity that marks Gnewt’s 10 year anniversary as the pioneer in EVs.
We are proud to be leading the way and participating in key trials and projects.
Gnewt wins Corp2020: Sustainable Logistics Company of the Year
This week we were also awarded, Sustainable Logistics Company of the Year by Corp Today, a business magazine that focuses on emerging as well as the leading fastest growing companies.
As Europe pledges to meet its climate targets by 2050, London is at a key juncture. On the one hand, it is a congested city that faces environmental and health risks because of vehicle pollution. On the other hand, it can lay claim to being a city with more than 20,000 electric vehicles, 1,700 electric taxis and Europe’s largest electric bus fleet.
In order to continue the momentum of transforming London into a green city, we at Gnewt by Menzies Distribution have been doing our bit and leading the charge of green parcel delivery in the city for nearly 10 years. We have been working with Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and City Hall to tackle what is a major block to the Capital’s green revolution – poor EV infrastructure.
Sadiq Khan, along with City Hall, has been addressing the issue of urban congestion and pollution through the formation of the world’s first Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Taskforce. The EV Taskforce brings together stakeholders, such as Gnewt, from across the city – with a shared aim of encouraging electric vehicle use in the Capital, and tackling our air pollution, health and climate crisis. The lack of EV infrastructure is a significant obstacle to creating a cleaner city, and the EV Taskforce aims to make it easier for Londoners to switch from diesel to electric cars and consequently reduce toxic traffic emissions.
On 17th June, Gnewt by Menzies Distribution, represented by founder and Head of Business Development, Sam Clarke, attended an EV Taskforce event, where the Mayor set out London’s plan for the future of electric vehicles. The plan seeks to implement a network of rapid charging hubs across the city, with the first EV charging hub, set to be operational by the end of 2019. In order to maximise the benefits of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, strategically placed charging hubs are crucial as drivers need to be able to charge a car as seamlessly as they could re-fill a tank. Included in the plan is the intention to open the first hub in the heart of the Square Mile by the end of 2019.
The next step of this process should look towards the needs of commercial vehicles, as freight and deliveries are central to supporting London’s economy, with half of the capital’s household expenditure relying on it. In order to support commercial vehicles in the green transition, the Government and industry should work together to create larger out of town charging stations that use rapid charging technology and have multiple charging points that can be used for electric cars and commercial vehicles. As electric vehicles now get ranges of over 300 miles, commercial vehicles can charge up outside of town – freeing up space on street charging points and city centre hubs – and make deliveries and return to base on one full charge.
If the UK and Europe are planning to take climate targets seriously, more needs to be done to encourage individuals and corporates to adopt full-electric vehicles, particularly those road-based companies such as couriers and parcel delivery firms. The lack of a commercially viable electric charging infrastructure is holding back this progress. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with Sadiq and the EV Taskforce to position London as a leader in low carbon emissions.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is doing everything in his power to tackle London’s toxic air and wants London to be the greenest city in the world. His strategies set out a vision for transitioning to a zero emission future, one that is zero-carbon with a zero emission transport network by 2050.
Accelerating the switch to electric vehicles is critical to delivering on the Mayor’s vision. In May 2018 he established a world-first Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Taskforce with experts from the public and private sector representing business, energy, infrastructure, government and London boroughs. Over the past year, the Taskforce has been supported by contributions from more than 350 stakeholders from over 140 different organisations to help unlock barriers to expanding charging infrastructure and accelerating the switch to EVs in London.
Gnewt by Menzies Distribution was invited to join the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, for the launch of their new EV Infrastructure Delivery plan earlier this week. Gnewt has been carrying out a trial in partnership with the Mayor of London that will evaluate the performance, impact and commercial viability of using electric vehicles for last-mile deliveries in central London to support this plan.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan made Gnewt by Menzies Distribution his first stop and we shared the benefits and the real difference we have and continue to make to last mile delivery in London.
The directory lists businesses in and around London that deliver using vehicles that are ultra-low emission, from cargo bikes to electric vehicles, and it also supports the Mayor of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone that came into effect in April.
As part of the DEFRA-funded Clean Air Villages programme, CRP are excited to launch an online Ultra-Low Emission Supplier Directory. The directory lists businesses in and around London that deliver using vehicles that are ultra-low emission, from cargo bikes to electric vehicles, and it also supports the Mayor of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone that came into effect in April.
Switching suppliers to those that use cleaner vehicles will improve air quality, a prominent issue as over 9000 Londoners are dying prematurely yearly because of toxic air (Mayor of London1). Working with the London Boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham, Lewisham and Islington the directory has a localised element for 5 ‘villages’ as part of the Clean Air Villages programme. These Air Quality Focus Areas are Archway, Bunhill/Old Street, Fulham Town Centre, Deptford High Street and Lewisham Town Centre. To be included in the directory, suppliers guaranteed they would deploy ultra-low emission vehicles’ at least 80% of the time when delivering/collecting in the Clean Air Village concerned.
Building on the success of the directory and Clean Air Villages, CRP looks forward to working with the London Borough of Lewisham in partnership with the London Boroughs of Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, Lambeth, Wandsworth, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Council, Cadogan Estates (landowners), and Euston Town BID on the Clean Air Villages 2 project that was recently granted funding by DEFRA for 2019-20.
Tanja Dalle-Muenchmeyer, Principal Programme Manager at Cross River Partnership, believes the directory is “an innovative tool that makes it easier for businesses, large or small, to do their bit towards cleaning up London’s air. We hope to add more businesses and other villages into our directory in the coming months.”
To search the directory please visit: http://crossriverpartnership.org/directory/ For further