Vancouver to try cargo bike cross-docking

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

The Province of British Columbia is partnering with the City of Vancouver to support a cargo e-bike micro hub project that will help reduce traffic congestion and air pollution around the city.

Vancouver’s cargo bike hub trial will last 14 months.

The cargo e-bike micro hub is a delivery facility where packages can be transferred from trucks, stored and then delivered by cargo e-bike to the final delivery point.

Micro hubs have been implemented around the world, including the Colibri project in Montreal, which makes more than 5,000 deliveries a day and is more profitable and efficient than traditional delivery trucks.


“Cyclelogistics” is the term used to describe the integration of bikes such as cargo e-bikes into the goods movement network to improve efficiency and reduce the impacts of deliveries in congested urban areas.

The City of Vancouver is leading the project with provincial funding. It will begin in June 2021 and run for 14 months. A project evaluation in spring 2022 will focus on productivity, capacity, cost, incidents and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions achieved.

The B.C. government is providing $200,000 in funding. The ministry grant will contribute funding for co-ordination, building rental and maintenance, data collection and analysis. Results will be used to develop a business case to assess the value of supporting future micro-hub projects.

Vancouver will provide in-kind support of one full-time employee to manage the project, including co-ordination and outreach to businesses.

Surge in deliveries

“With COVID-19, there has been a surge in online shopping, same-day shipping and home delivery, increasing the number of delivery trucks on B.C.’s roads,” said Rob Fleming, minister of transportation and infrastructure.

“This project will support efficient last-mile delivery that does not add congestion, noise or air pollution to Vancouver’s busy downtown core.”

In addition to GHG emission reductions, a successful cargo e-bike micro hub addresses congestion issues, such as double-parking and circling to find loading or parking spaces. It also improves road safety by reducing the number of larger vehicles and allows for more efficient use of road space.

Encouraging e-bikes

This project complements the government’s Go Electric Specialty-Use Vehicle Incentive (SUVI) program, which provides financial incentives of up to $1,700 for organizations and businesses to purchase cargo e-bikes. Effective April 21, 2021, PST exemptions for bicycles and tricycles have been expanded to include qualifying e-bikes.

“In the face of a climate emergency, we must find ways to deliver goods and services more sustainably while enabling a liveable city and vibrant economy,” said Kennedy Stewart, mayor of Vancouver.

“Cargo bikes have the potential to replace vans or trucks for many types of urban deliveries. The city is excited to partner with the province and to work with businesses to encourage more emission-free last-mile deliveries.”