Delivery firm with all-electric fleet plans to double drivers for Christmas

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Packfleet plans to take its green vans across the country, challenging larger couriers

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The Bermondsey-based parcel delivery company is looking to challenge traditional couriers with its fleet of electric vehicles as it aims to more than double its number of drivers for Christmas.

Packfleet, which operates from a railway arch in south east London, uses all-electric vans and promises to pay its employees a decent rate with reasonable employment benefits, which sets it apart from other firms. .

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It currently operates 25 electric vans with an equal number of drivers, delivering parcels to small and medium businesses in the Greater London area.

But the company’s co-founder and chief executive Tristan Thomas, who used to be vice president of marketing at challenger bank Monzo, says the company plans to expand to new UK cities in the first half of 2023 and into European markets in the coming years. Intends. ,

In the immediate term, he wants to have another 25 temporary drivers and another 10-20 permanent drivers, as well as more back office workers, to deal with the expected Christmas rush.

Packfleet has grown rapidly since launching 18 months ago, securing £1 million of pre-seed funding from a group of London-based investors, and subsequently raising another £8 million from Swedish-based venture capital advisory firm Creandum. Is.

The company promises a personalized and professional service to its customers, including posh restaurant meal kit service Dishpatch, Peckham Microbrewery Brick Brewery and online Cheesemonger CheeseGeek.

Mr Thomas says Packfleet offers better, more efficient service than larger firms and wants to “avoid drivers who just chuck parcels over the fence”.

Companies can set specific collection times for their packages and track their driver to the door. Packfleet allows the end customer to change the delivery address, request that the parcel be left with a neighbor, or ask that the driver call them instead of ringing the bell while they are on the way.

“It’s more like ordering an Uber than receiving a parcel,” explains Mr. Thomas.

Drivers are paid by the hour rather than by the delivery, which means they are not encouraged to slap. And – unlike some delivery firms – Packfleet employs all of its employees with the benefits that go with it, including £13.50 an hour, free lunch, and paid leave, health insurance and pensions for its permanent employees. is included.

Mr Thomas explains that the decision to go from off to fully electric was driven by a desire to get ahead of the curve.

“We are rapidly moving towards a world where all vehicles will have to be electric,” he says.

“The question for us was how quickly do we get there.

“Do we build our foundations on petrol or diesel vehicles, or do we spend more money up front and go electric faster?”

On an average route with about 100 droplets, a van powered by petrol or diesel emits about 20 kg of CO2 per day.

In comparison, an electric van does not generate any CO2 while driving, but charging it will produce some if the electricity is generated from fossil fuels. However, Packfleet uses green electricity from a renewable provider in its depots, effectively reducing emissions from its fleet to zero.

Its green credentials have proven popular with customers, says Thomas, and he thinks it will quickly become a selling point for businesses.

Eventually, he wants to take Packfleet to individual consumers, who will be able to place a courier order through the app to deliver packages across the city.

“We would never challenge Royal Mail,” he laughs, “but in terms of parcels, we hope people will think of us first.”

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