Is Logistical Harmony Just a Pipe Dream?


Logistics innovations

It’s 8 am Monday. For the millions of us who commute, we face a daily dose of side streets, highways, and traffic that cumulatively sucks the life out of us long before we sit down at our desks. Before you set off for work, you’ve acclimated yourself to the undeniable reality that you’re looking at an average of 45 minutes each way (which is 15 miserable days per year stuck in commuter purgatory, more than most workers get in vacation time).

Yes, you live in a city or commute into one. Unfortunately, while cities are bastions of employment, they are increasingly becoming larger, more congested, and polluted. According to the United Nations, in 2018, there were 33 Megacities worldwide. Fast forward to 2030, and we’re looking at 43.

As our population grows, more and more of us are flocking to cities to live and work. The growth compounds the pressure on a transportation infrastructure designed and implemented decades ago. It is the “10 pounds of potatoes in a 5-pound sack” scenario. Guess what? It’s not going to get any better.

The Logistics Puzzle

In the logistics industry, we face a situation where what we do accounts for a disproportionate amount of congestion, pollution, and severe wastage of finite resources. For example, estimates on urban truck traffic in Canadian and US cities point to $30 billion annually on wasted hours and gas costs by our couriers sitting in traffic or taking deliveries the last mile.

Logistics-based traffic represents only 7% of the total flow but constitutes 17% of the overall costs of congestion. The image of the ubiquitous “cube van” double-parked on a crowded downtown street doesn’t do any good in the brand loyalty arena.

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, there is a ton of “blue sky” thinking revolving around solving this problem. Concepts include drones, driverless cars, and shared logistics. But in reality, most of these solutions are many years away from implementation, if at all. So, where are the currently feasible solutions based on existing technology, innovation, effort, and willingness to change to make a difference?

At Parcel Port, if we white boarded a utopian solution (actually, we have many times), we would fill that board with the following in BIG BOLD LETTERS.

Reduce congestion and pollution.
Improve service.
Lower delivery costs.

Ok, so we admit it sounds like a pipe dream. But what if there was one idea that could solve many of our problems today?

Reducing Congestion

Cramming more and more trucks in our growing cities isn’t the solution. What if couriers delivered parcels outside the standard 8 am-6 pm window?

Using off-peak hours would substantially cut down our impact on congestion and, at the same time, drastically reduce fuel consumption to the tune of a 40% reduction. Most businesses aren’t open all night and consumers don’t want a parcel delivered at 3 am.

So how do we make this viable?

Incumbent couriers are exceptional at delivering packages over long distances. The first step is establishing cost-effective couriers who can deliver during off-peak hours. Fortunately, the necessary infrastructure is already in place. Imagine harnessing the myriad of rideshare offerings to help with off-peak parcel deliveries, including Uber and Lyft. The first step, check.

Next, a network of secure urban Smart Parcel Lockers in multi-unit residential buildings, commercial high rises, and convenient community locations open 24/7 to accept deliveries. While the rest of us are asleep and our urban centers are free from congestion, goods move their final mile during the night. Creating such a network is our focus, and we are working feverishly to make this step also a check.

Photo of a ParcelPort smart locker with canopy

An outdoor, 66-slot Smart Parcel Locker by ParcelPort Solutions, Inc.

Service is King

So we can nail the congestion with existing, albeit modified processes. What about the service?

Using the above scenario, couriers deliver parcels to Smart Parcel Locker in record time. Over their morning coffee, consumers read the emails and text notifications from ParcelPort that their parcel has arrived at one of our lockers. Customers plan to drop by and pick it up on their way to or from work or even during their lunch hour.

The beauty of our Smart Parcel Lockers is that the consumer can access them at any time when and where convenient for them. Furthermore, their parcel is secure in a video-monitored private slot that only they can open. No more porch pirate worries.

The Bottom Line

A truckload of time and money will be saved by reducing or nearly eliminating the courier’s last-mile delivery costs and dealing with concierges. Additionally, as we grow our network of Smart Parcel Lockers, couriers can make a convenient one-stop drop-off covering many different neighborhoods. Expensive last-mile costs could be a thing of the past.

Consider the last-mile savings for 15 parcels, each with a different address that are now able to be dropped off at a single, secure location. Similarly, while couriers deliver parcels, they can also pick up consumer shipments and product returns simultaneously.

As our network grows, we’ll have more drop-off and pick-up locations to serve you. The more Smart Parcel Lockers come online, deliveries will become centralized, and bottom line profits will increase.

Our Vision for a Sustainable Future

ParcelPort is working to build a new logistical future that reduces congestion, improves air quality, makes our cities more liveable, and brings service levels exceeding what many expect from traditional courier deliveries. It’s a vision that we’re working hard on.

To learn more about how your organization can maximize smart lockers to reduce cost, increase revenue, and delight your customers, contact the ParcelPort team online by visiting or calling 1-800-818-0870.