Grid Smarter Cities Completes Cross-Docking Road-River Freight Scheme with In-depth Evaluation Report

London’s first river-road scheme which included dedicated space at the kerbside for cross-docking freight came to a successful conclusion earlier this month. The two bookable bays were created on Bankside adjacent to Bankside Pier for the use of freight, servicing & delivery drivers.

Following the completion of the project, an evaluation report has been produced which makes a series of practical, evidence-based recommendations. The research, led by transport consultancy Steer, lays out an action plan for future river-road cross-docking freight deployments in London and other major cities, providing a blueprint for how cross-docking can be used to enable sustainable city growth.

The key recommendations for the implementation of a successful river-road cross-docking freight scheme are noted below:

1. Policy and planning

Strong policy & planning, such as safeguarding of wharves, is required. This together with long-term strategic coordination will be required to enable river freight to scale. 

2. Managing River Freight Locations

Existing low levels of light river freight can be accommodated on passenger piers. To successfully grow & scale river freight solutions, larger and better managed spaces will be required.

3. Operator Perspective

Operators found the booking and safety of having dedicated cross-docking spaces to be useful. If used in combination with recommendations 1 & 2 it would be easier for the operators to invest and expand their river operations.

4. Local Monitoring and Engagement

Monitoring all transport modes to provide data and accurately attribute any peaks in noise or air quality breaches was crucial. Showcasing that data can be used and shared to track cross-docking freight activity and new delivery modes did not negatively impact the local community.

A New River Freight Proposition for Cleaner Freight in London

Impact on Urban Health funded this innovative project to explore how a multimodal approach to freight could support a cleaner urban environment for the communities of London. Grid worked on this project alongside a mix of multidisciplinary stakeholders and in association with Southwark Council.

Watch a video on how the cross-docking journey works here:

Ben Pearce, Portfolio Manager at Impact on Urban Health said: 

“Air pollution devastates people’s health in urban areas like London. Freight – the movement of goods across cities – is a major contributor to air pollution. 

This project was designed to test whether we can be making better use of the river for deliveries, reducing the need for polluting vans. The results are practical, evidence-based recommendations to enable local government, freight operators and landowners to scale up the use of river freight.”

Effective Stakeholder Management Contributed to the Depth and Diversity of the Project’s Insight-driven Outcomes

Working in collaboration with Impact on Urban Health, Southwark Borough Council, and in association with project partners Steer, EMSOL and MP Smarter Travel; the Kerb-Dock project ensured a range of diverse perspectives, expertise, and experiences were inclusively incorporated into the research outcomes.

Laura Jacklin, Commercial Development at Grid Smarter Cities said:

Kerb-Dock has shown the necessity of managing space on cross docking activities to sustainably scale up river freight. Technology has a part to play where platforms such as Kerb can help to showcase the real-time information on deliveries at spaces where cross docking is important. 

The biggest success of the project has been getting all the stakeholders who are involved in this process into the room to discuss how it can be done together.