Ford has been working with parcel courier firm Hermes on a new ‘last mile’ delivery service that promises to be both quicker and better for the environment.

Trialled in London since September 2020, it sees Ford’s multi-module routing and logistics software working with Hermes’ tracking systems to ensure a speedy delivery, but the key difference here is that the method sees a van and pedestrian courier working in tandem to deliver parcels.

While only likely to work in heavily-populated and built-up areas, the delivery method sees the software identifying a safe location for a van driver to stop and then meet up with a pedestrian courier who then completes the final deliveries by foot to close-knit locations. Ford gives a ‘mix of high-rise, business and residential buildings’ as the place where this type of logistics works best.

Tom Thompson, project lead of Ford Mobility, said: “Being smarter about how we deliver parcels in the future will enable carriers to operate more sustainably and efficiently – while delivering a better experience for customers.

“Our trials with Hermes have shown how multi-modal deliveries can be scalable and effective, even during peak times of the year.”

The trial was in operation over Christmas – the busiest time for couriers and escalated by many shops being closed due to coronavirus restrictions – with a team of eight pedestrian couriers and two Ford Transit vans completing journeys quicker than six vans on their own would have been able to make.

There are also plans to expand the delivery method to other areas of the UK, though these locations are yet to be announced.