“We didn’t mean to be pioneers; we just did what we thought was the right thing to do,” remarks Jamie Sands of haulage and warehousing company Welch’s Transport, which this year introduced a fully electric 19t heavy goods vehicle to its fleet, and installed a 150kW rapid charging point at its Cambridgeshire base for any passing haulier to use. “Then we turned around, and it seems everyone is watching us.”
The company hopes that by offering its supercharger at cost to drivers of electric delivery vehicles it will encourage other hauliers to invest in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure too. “We want to instil a new way of thinking for hauliers, so that when other companies install their own chargers they will offer them for everyone’s use too.”
Now the family-run company – which next year celebrates 90 years in business – is developing an urban consolidation centre at its 3,700m2 warehousing facility near Duxford, close to the A11 and M11, and around 12km south of Cambridge. The centre aims to accept freight from participating businesses heading towards the city. It will then arrange for onward deliveries to be consolidated into fewer goods vehicles at set times to reduce freight miles, cut congestion and improve local air quality.
Welch’s Transport is looking to work with a local science park on the outskirts of central Cambridge to trial its consolidation and onward journey service. Goods would arrive at the company’s warehouse, be sorted into cages before being loaded on to appropriate vehicles destined for the science park, with some sites receiving multiple deliveries a day.