PostNL Parcels has said it is urging its independent delivery subcontractors in the Netherlands to make use of more environmentally-friendly transport options.
The call came as the parcels division of the Dutch postal operator announced trials of four “green” vehicles in the Leeuwarden area, working with its subcontractor Roorda Transport Services.
The vehicles are using biogas as a fuel – methane produced from organic vegetation or waste – in a project that also involves biogas supplier OrangeGas and the municipality of Leeuwarden.
PostNL said its subcontractor began the purchase process for the vehicles last year in partnership with OrangeGas, which operates “GreenGas” refueling points across the Netherlands.
And with 80% of PostNL Parcels’ transport activities run by subcontractors, the company has mounted a nationwide effort to encourage other transport partners to follow suit.
The company said those parcel carriers that agree to switch to more sustainable transport will be rewarded with better chances to work for PostNL.
“We want to stimulate a larger number of independent parcel carriers to consider sustainable transport means,” said Laurens Tuinhout, director of sourcing and sustainability at PostNL Parcels.
“We ask our transport partners to make additional investments in sustainable transportation, after which we offer them more certainty to recoup the investment.”
Isabelle Diks, alderwoman for sustainable development of the municipality of Leeuwarden, fills up one of the biogas-fueled parcel delivery vans
Biogas helps companies cut their climate change emissions because it is produced from organic matter that has already drawn carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere as it was grown. Identical to petroleum-based natural gas chemically, if it is made from waste it has the added bonus of reducing the amount of waste being thrown into landfills.
An added advantage can be that using the fuel instead of fossil fuels can help reduce exposure to increasing oil prices.
Marcel Borger, director of OrangeGas, said by the end of 2012 his company would have 50 refueling points across the Netherlands, using both biogas and conventional natural gas, and stated that with the rest of the industry also growing in the Netherlands there would be 100 refueling points in total in the country by the end of this year.
The municipality of Leeuwarden is supporting the partnership by offering a EUR 1,000 per vehicle subsidy available.
But Marthijs Roorda, the director of Roorda Transport Services, said using the sustainable fuel also saves his company money in its transport operations.
“By using Greengas I save on the costs per kilometer due to the lower price and the lower maintenance costs, and moreover it is carbon neutral,” said Roorda.
“Since OrangeGas keeps on expanding the network of Greengas refueling stations, I can use an increasing number of them.”
PostNL delivers around 106m parcels each year to addresses in the Benelux countries, Germany, the UK and Italy.