UPS goes back to its pedal-powered roots with cargotrike

The American Messenger Company was founded in 1907 by two teens with one bicycle. The company became the United Parcel Service of America, and now UPS is returning to its roots with the deployment of a delivery trike. The electric cargo trike began delivering packages in Portland, Oregon, on November 21st, said UPS in a press statement issued today.

UPS senior VP Mark Wallace, said: “Early in our 109 year history, UPS operated as a bike messenger company. While we have evolved and developed a vast network of ground and air vehicles, the bicycle may be making a comeback as we navigate through crowded urban areas and continue our focus on environmental sustainability.”

Portland, Oregon, was chosen because it’s one of the most cycle friendly cities in America, and already has a cargobike culture, said Jonathan Maus of Bikeportland:

"Portland has been U.S. leader with cargo bikes for a decade – both for personal and business use."

UPS said the e-trike could be rolled out in "some other cities across the country" saying that its deployment "is part of UPS’s ongoing commitment to reduce carbon emissions as city populations and e-commerce grow, and traffic, noise and air quality challenges continue to rise."

UPS trialled a e-tricycle service in Hamburg, Germany, in 2012. This program was extended in February 2015 for another two years.

“Portland, like all cities, is looking for ways to fight urban congestion and pollution,” said Portland Mayor, Charlie Hales. “It’s great when a company like UPS brings us a unique solution that will help us combat climate change and protect the environment.”

UPS already uses standard bicycles for delivery seasonally in Portland.

Other delivery companies – such as DHL – are also turning to trikes and cargobikes. The European Cyclists’ Federation estimates that 50 percent of light goods and 25 percent of all goods could be delivered in cities by cargo bikes.

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