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First NHS trust pilots riverboat delivery service

  • Guy’s and St Thomas’ has teamed up with CEVA Logistics and Livett’s Group to trial a riverboat delivery service on the River Thames
  • It’s part of the Trust’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and tackle air pollution
  • The pilot launches on Clean Air Day on Thursday 17 June

An NHS trust has become the first in the country to pilot a daily riverboat delivery service as part of plans to reduce its carbon footprint.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has teamed up with CEVA Logistics and Livett’s Group to trial the service on the River Thames.

If the proof of concept pilot is successful, the service will operate on a larger scale, removing trucks from the capital’s roads while providing a reliable delivery route into London during the day. The Trust’s three delivery trucks currently travel around 1,500 miles per week. For each truck removed from the road, approximately 708 kgs of CO2 could be saved per week.

The service would help Guy’s and St Thomas’ work towards its aim of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and support the Mayor of London's aim to reduce the number of lorries and vans entering central London in the morning peak by 10% by 2026.

The riverboat pilot service will run twice a day, five days a week. Parcels will be loaded onto the boat at Dartford International Ferry Terminal in Kent, before making the journey to Butler’s Wharf Pier in London. The parcels, which include clinical supplies for operating theatres, will then be transported by Absolutely, the final mile delivery partner, on electric cargo bikes to Guy’s Hospital.

The three-month pilot launches on Clean Air Day on Thursday 17 June. Earlier this month Guy’s and St Thomas’ unveiled its sustainability strategy which sets out a clear path towards more sustainable healthcare for the next 10 years. The pilot is just one of the initiatives that the Trust has introduced to help reduce its carbon footprint and to become more sustainable.

In 2019, the Trust worked with CEVA Logistics to open a consolidation supply chain hub in Dartford close to the M25, which has reduced the number of daily truck deliveries onto the hospital sites by 90%. The Trust is also planning to introduce a fleet of three large electric trucks to deliver consolidated deliveries from the supply chain hub.

This initiative followed the switch to cargo bikes when transporting blood and tumours for testing between Guy's Hospital and St Thomas' Hospital, which replaced vans and motorbikes.

David Lawson, Chief Procurement Officer at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “The riverboat pilot forms a key part in our ambition to remove over 40,000 truck deliveries from central London roads each year. We also want to encourage and support other organisations to adopt the use of zero emission delivery models to improve air quality for the communities that we serve.”

Chris Walton, Managing Director UK and Ireland at CEVA Logistics, said: “The riverboat trial firmly supports our commitment to sustainable and ethical supply chains. As part of what we call responsive logistics, we constantly look for smart, alternative solutions to improve our carbon footprint and reduce noise and air pollution, specifically when operating in urban areas. As part of our global FORPATIENTS strategy for healthcare customers, we offer flexible end-to-end logistics solutions that place the patient at the centre of the supply chain.”

Edward Livett, Director of Livett’s Group, said: “We are very excited and proud to be a part of this trial as it is a clear example of positive use of the River Thames, something we are constantly striving for. Livett’s specialise in river logistics and as a Group have assets from Putney down to Gravesend which we are confident will help make this trial an absolute success. We look forward to helping freight back onto the river and proving it to be an environmentally sustainable and safe solution.”

Stuart Godman, CEO at Absolutely, said: “We are proud to have been chosen as the final mile delivery partner. As a business, we want to build on our ambition to be a true ambassador for carbon neutrality. Significant partnerships, like this, provide the opportunity to utilise our expanding fleet of electric cargo vehicles and allow us to continue to provide an excellent service in a more sustainable way across London.”

James Trimmer, planning & environment director at the Port of London Authority, said: “This innovative scheme is another great example of the river’s potential as a green superhighway. It’s a win-win situation; the tidal Thames can help rebuild the economy post the pandemic and both reduce carbon emissions and air pollution in the capital.”

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Note to editors:

  1. Contact: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust tel: 020 7188 5577 or e-mail: press@gstt.nhs.uk. Out of hours, please call our pager bureau on 0844 822 2888, ask for pager number 847704 and give the pager operator your message.
  1. Guy's and St Thomas' provides 2.9 million patient contacts in acute and specialist hospital services and community services every year. The Trust includes Guy’s Hospital, St Thomas’ Hospital, Evelina London Children’s Hospital, Royal Brompton Hospital, Harefield Hospital, and adult and children’s community services in Lambeth and Southwark
  1. As one of the biggest NHS trusts in the UK, with an annual turnover of £2.1 billion, we employ around 22,000 staff. www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk
  1. Guy’s and St Thomas’ is part of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC), a collaboration between King’s College London, and Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts. www.kingshealthpartners.org

About CEVA Logistics

CEVA Logistics, a world leader in third-party logistics, provides and operates transportation and supply-chain solutions for large- or medium-size national and global companies. CEVA Logistics offers a broad range of services in both Contract Logistics and Freight Management thanks to its approximately 78,000 employees and 1,000 facilities in more than 160 countries. CEVA Logistics’ experienced specialists focus on seamlessly designing end-to-end customized solutions to meet the complex and rapidly evolving supply chain needs, whatever the business sector. CEVA Logistics is part of the CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics.

For more information, please visit www.cevalogistics.com

Ryan Fisher

Global Media Relations Manager


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