Inside Logistics

Purolator rolls out alternative last-mile fleet

Low-speed electric vehicles and more cargo bikes to deliver parcels in congested urban areas


October 19, 2020
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Purolator rolls out more e-bikes and new electric low-speed vehicles in Toronto, Ont., and Montreal, Que. (CNW Group/Purolator Inc.)

TORONTO – Purolator is launching a fleet of alternative-power last mile delivery vehicles.

The new vehicles are helping the company address the ever-increasing growth in e-commerce.

It will be testing new fully electric low-speed vehicles to reduce noise and traffic congestion when delivering within busy downtown core areas of Toronto, Ontario, and Montreal, Quebec. The compact size of low-speed vehicles make delivering on busy streets with limited parking more manageable, as they take up less than half the space of a traditional delivery truck.

It will also be expanding its fleet of electric-cargo bikes (e-bikes) in Montreal to maneuver through pedestrian-only and zero-emission zones and street closures. Additionally, the e-bikes can be parked on sidewalks for delivery within restricted-parking areas. The fleet of e-bikes is housed at Purolator’s first Canadian urban distribution centre, opened with the City of Montreal.

The company will also be piloting automated self-serve parcel lockers at Honoré-Beaugrand subway station in Montreal. This initiative, in partnership with Société de transport de Montréal and the City of Montreal, is one of the first public transit subway systems providing commuters a convenient self-serve option for picking up shipments.

“More than ever, we’re committed to helping dense metropolitan cities operate more smoothly through new delivery methods that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says John Ferguson, Purolator president and CEO.

Covid deliveries

Since the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Purolator has seen residential deliveries increase approximately 50 percent, including in areas designated as pedestrian-only or those with limited access for delivery trucks. Purolator’s low-speed vehicles and e-bikes offer quick service to these spots by providing a flexible alternative for delivery.

As regulations around transportation and city logistics continue to evolve, these alternative vehicles provide an agile solution with the ability to deliver the same number of packages as a standard-size delivery truck.

“Purolator has made important sustainability investments as part of our $1B delivering the future growth and innovation plan,” says Ferguson.

“We’ve consistently evolved over our 60-year history to stay one step ahead of change. Our goal is to continuously innovate, adapt intelligently and provide workable solutions for the unique challenges of urban growth, along with the growth in B2B, e-commerce and home deliveries, particularly as the economy navigates through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The company has committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. These new types vehicles complement Purolator’s existing fleet of 323 hybrid-electric vehicles.