TNT builds city centre mobile sorting and delivery concept vehicle16 October 2013

TNT has finally built its city centre parcels deliveries concept vehicle – a bespoke, twin-axle semi-trailer fitted with a side lift and an expanding side section that slides out.

Graham Ellis, of Ellis International Transport, explains that the trailer is driven into the city behind a tractor unit and parked – leaving the tractor unit to return to TNT's airport hub for work with other trailers.

The side lift has been designed to raise and lower an electrically-assisted delivery bike for loading in the mobile depot. Meanwhile, the expanding side section will accommodate parcel sorting on-site.

As for the trailer itself – which was proposed more than a year ago but has since languished awaiting build funding – it is a standard length vehicle and also has a full office section sited above the fifth wheel coupling.

In the prototype, power for the side lift, extending side and office is provided through a power connection to an adjacent building. However, Ellis says that, if the vehicle is commercially successful, an on-board generator or solar panels are to be investigated.

Importantly, the trailer has been designed to operate as a full mobile parcel depot, including sorting on-site instead of at the airport hub.

TNT believes this will reduce the number of sorting operations from three down to two. Meanwhile, its electrically assisted bike will deal with issues around traffic congestion that currently limit operational efficiency.

The concept trailer has been developed as part of an EU funded FP7- Straightsol project.

Brian Tinham

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