Green fleet for Dutch PostNL

Lucia Smit-Kleiman, PostNL: “Our vehicles are both greener and quieter”

31-10-2017

PostNL, the leading postal and logistic solutions providers in The Netherlands, began replacing its fleet three years ago. Polluting diesel vehicles for which the lease had expired were replaced with clean vehicles that run on Green Gas. “By setting a good example, we hope to inspire partners and other organisations to realise their ambitions.” To achieve its goals, PostNL purchases biomethane (also known as Green Gas) from PitPoint.

It is PostNL’s ambition to achieve emission-free postal deliveries in 25 cities by 2025. As Fleet Management Coordinator, Lucia Smit-Kleiman (44) is responsible for the purchase and management of vehicles within PostNL. PostNL’s vehicles deliver letters and packages all across the Netherlands. According to Smit-Kleiman, who previously worked at a waste processing company and a leasing company, this is a huge responsibility. Her work involves looking for resources that support corporate social responsibility and are in line with PostNL’s activities. “Vehicles are a resource that must fit in with the other business processes. This not only covers specifications, but also which route the driver drives, the loading volume, the range and all kinds of health and safety conditions.”

Leaps and bounds

Developments in the field of clean energy have come along in leaps and bounds in recent years. Not just the use of biomethane, but also the use of hydrogen as fuel and electric transport have increased significantly. According to Smit-Kleiman, it is getting easier to respond to the trends regarding clean energy thanks to the resources that are currently available. Together with all employees involved, the mail and parcel delivery company started the process of replacing the entire fleet with green vehicles three years ago. This should ultimately lead to a more sustainable business.

Fulfilling ambitions

In 2014, PostNL started replacing diesel vehicles for which the lease was about to expire with leased cars that run on compressed natural gas (CNG), which are used for the transition to a completely emission-free fleet. The main condition of PostNL was that drivers should be able to refuel within a reasonable distance from the distribution centre. This proved to be a challenge at the time, because there were very few biomethane fuelling stations. This is where PitPoint came in. Together, they turned PostNL’s wish to have an easily accessible fuelling infrastructure into a reality. PitPoint arranges the construction and maintenance of the fuelling stations. “PostNL is looking for partners with whom we can achieve our ambitions through close collaboration. PitPoint’s vision and the innovative character of the organisation fit in well with the ambitions of PostNL in this respect.”

A lot quieter

Not only are the ambitions of the two companies compatible, the delivery staff love driving on biomethane. “The new cars are no more expensive to run than the old lease vehicles, and drivers have told us that they are a lot quieter”, states Smit-Kleiman. PostNL is not just making its fleet of vehicles more sustainable: its emission-free policy applies to the entire delivery process. Package sorting centres have recently been fitted with solar panels, and electric scooters and (cargo) bicycles are used for deliveries more and more often.

Reliable large network

With its development of fuelling stations and the supply of biomethane, PitPoint played a major role in PostNL’s step up to an emission free future. PostNL is aiming to deliver all post and packages emission-free in 25 cities by 2025. “PitPoint offers a reliable and large network. It is fantastic how they notify us of any maintenance to fuelling stations a long time in advance, for instance.”

Directly from the source

Smit-Kleiman does believe there is still room for improvement. Currently, vehicles fill up “as normal” with CNG on the public network, after which PitPoint “greens” the volume that has been purchased using biomethane certificates. “It is definitely a start, but PostNL would like to see its gas supplied green from the source in future. We need to look more closely at the possibilities in this respect”, explains Smit-Kleiman. In the future, the company expects that it will not be using a single engine type but multiple types alongside each other, just like the rest of the market. Due to the many options available, the logistics picture is especially important.

PostNL’s future goals may be ambitious, but the past has already shown that it does not shy away from changes and innovations. And now things are definitely heading in the right direction. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) shows that worldwide, PostNL is the most sustainable company in the transport sector. However, even though this confirms that the company is on the right track, it has many more ambitions. In three years’ time, PostNL has managed to get half of its fleet (more than 700 vehicles) running on biomethane. “By setting a good example, we hope to inspire partners and other organisations to realise their ambitions.”