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Cross River Partnership launches River Freight Pilot Part Two

Cross River Partnership has recently launched the River Freight Pilot Part Two – Scaling up: Monthly bulk deliveries on the Thames.
river freight

Cross River Partnership (CRP), a non-profit and impartial partnership organisation, has recently launched the River Freight Pilot Part Two – Scaling up: Monthly bulk deliveries on the Thames.

The trial is the second edition of CRP’s River Freight Pilot, which operated one delivery per week, for six weeks, over the summer of 2022. The initial river freight pilot aimed to demonstrate the potential of river freight as a viable and sustainable logistics solution. Goods were delivered on the Thames into central London which resulted in a 78% saving in NOx and an 88% saving in CO2 (in comparison to traditional road-based delivery methods).

This year’s six-month trial is focused on the monthly bulk delivery of goods to make river freight more economically viable for the suppliers involved in the trial, and there is an ambition for the service to become a permanent feature of their future logistics operations. The trial is a collaboration between Absolutely Courier, Antalis, CPBS Marine Services, Complete, Transport for London River Services, Mayflower Washroom Solutions, The Northbank BID and the Port of London Authority.

Goods are loaded at TfL’s Woolwich Ferry, Royal Borough of Greenwich, and travel into central London via the Thames to Temple Pier in City of Westminster. Cargo bikes, operated by Absolutely Courier, are then used to deliver goods from Temple Pier to their final destinations. 4 vans are taken off the road per river freight journey.

The dates for each monthly delivery have already been agreed and will be taking place on:

  • Tuesday 20th June (3rd run)
  • Thursday 20th July (4th run)
  • Tuesday 22nd August (5th run)
  • Tuesday 19th September (6th run)

The River Freight Pilot Part Two forms part of CRP’s wider activities to encourage sustainable logistics across London. This includes the development of rail freight and walking freight initiatives, helping to improve London’s air quality and supporting CRP’s vision to make London a better place to live, work and visit.

CRP has created several resources that provide The Northbank BID’s businesses with information on how to get involved with the River Freight Pilot Part Two, including onboarding criteria and next steps. These include presentations from The Northbank BID, Mayflower and Absolutely Courier. You can find a Q&A session about the scheme here.

CRP has also launched CRP’s Thames Directory to encourage businesses to consider using the river for freight in London. This interactive web tool provides information about utilising The River Thames for freight. Businesses can use the map to view information about London’s river infrastructure (piers and wharfs), whilst the Directory provides details on 2 vessel operators and ultra-low emission (cargo bikes and electric vehicles) last mile couriers, which can help to deliver river freight operations.

CRP’s Thames Directory CRP has also secured £1,000,000 of Air Quality grant funding from central government department Defra to deliver the Smarter Greener Logistics (SGL) project. From 1st July 2023, SGL aims to build on the achievements of the CALL programme and minimise the impact of freight on noise, air quality, traffic and pavement space across London.

As the Northbank is a river district, with it’s boundary extending directly to the river Thames, delivering via the river just makes sense. This hugely collaborative pilot is an important element of the BID’s sustainability work and will help organisations in our area reduce carbon, air pollution and congestion.

Alison Gregory, Head of Placemaking and Sustainability, The Northbank BID

CRP’s River Freight Pilot Part Two aims to make river freight deliveries more economically viable for the original businesses involved. This is really important to enable the transition to more permanent change.

We hope that by focussing on bulk deliveries, we can cut down operational costs whilst continuing to ensure air quality and congestion benefits of the trial. This supports CRP’s overall vision of making London a better place to live, work and visit.

Fiona Coull, CRP Senior Programme Manager
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