Hermes has trialled a new delivery model which combines delivery vans with pedestrian couriers.
The firm has teamed up with Ford to create a new “last mile” delivery service that promises to be both quicker and better for the environment.
The London trial has involved Ford’s multi-module routing and logistics software working with Hermes’ tracking systems.
The key difference is the method sees a van and pedestrian courier working in tandem to deliver parcels.
The delivery method sees the software identifying a safe location for a van driver to stop and then meet up with a pedestrian courier who then completes the final deliveries by foot to close-knit locations.
Ford gives a “mix of high-rise, business and residential buildings” as the place where this type of logistics works best.
Tom Thompson, project lead of Ford Mobility, said: “Being smarter about how we deliver parcels in the future will enable carriers to operate more sustainably and efficiently – while delivering a better experience for customers.
“Our trials with Hermes have shown how multi-modal deliveries can be scalable and effective, even during peak times of the year.”
The trial took place over Christmas with a team of eight pedestrian couriers and two Ford Transit vans completing journeys quicker than six vans on their own would have been able to make.
There are also plans to expand the delivery method to other areas of the UK.
These locations are yet to be announced.
In a recent poll comparing delivery companies, Hermes ranked 14th out of 17.
In July last year, the firm said it was creating more than 10,000 new jobs in the UK as it invests £100 million to meet the demand from “stay-at-home” shoppers.
Hermes said it is dealing with a “massive spike” in online shopping caused by the coronavirus lockdown.
Chief executive of Hermes Martijn de Lange said: “The pandemic has expedited the already phenomenal growth of online shopping and we see no sign of this changing.
“In that first fortnight of lockdown we had thousands of applications from pub staff, chefs, children’s entertainers, dog walkers, pub singers, beauticians, hairdressers, pilots and many, many others. We look forward to welcoming our new recruits over the coming weeks.”
Hermes UK said it had already invested more than £30 million in its operations, part of which was used to open 90 new sub-depots, and buy new vans.