January 13, 2017

Making money off pushy delivery people

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 1:02 pm


I work at home and often accept packages for my neighbours who like many people are rarely home to receive their wares. People who are often at home for whatever reason end up playing post office for the entire street. Once the delivery people know you’re at home often, you’re screwed. Sure you can refuse packages, but not without having to defend yourself against pushy delivery people. You get that ‘but you’re at home doing nothing’ look from the delivery person who is ‘just trying to do their job’. In fact, you’ll end up doing their job for them. For a woman in the link below, it was so bad she turned off her doorbell and still had delivery people banging down her door, trying to deliver their packages. And that’s harassment.

I’ve unofficially turned into the package delivery point, and since I believe in getting along with my neighbours, I don’t really mind. Of course, it was terrible when I was on crutches with a broken leg in 2012 and the delivery people would ring and bang on my door, but that was par for the course. It stopped being OK a few weeks back when someone tried to deliver a huge bouquet of flowers to a sick neighbour who wasn’t home. I told the guy I wouldn’t accept it because the neighbour in question had been away for a while and that the flowers would wilt. He tried to convince me that flowers are nice and I could enjoy them until she got back. I told him that if he expected me to deliver wilted flowers to a sick woman just so he could make his delivery, that he was a bit of a dick. He told me again how nice flowers are and I told him he’d better leave before I put in a complaint.

My front door has a sign that says ‘no salespeople, no donation collectors and no religion peddlers’ (see photo), which I thought covered the scope, but apparently not. The woman who was being harassed put a ‘no packages’ sticker on her door, which sounds like a good idea, but Michiel Nieuwkerk from Zeeland went much further and turned a common problem into a business opportunity.

Annoyed at having to get his packages from the neighbours who were never home in the evenings, he set up package pick-up and delivery points with willing neighbours on ViaTim.nl, which charges people for that service. ViaTim service now has 22 points in South Holland and Zeeland and is growing fast.

I’m off to ponder joining in on this.

(Link: waarmaarraar)

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May 6, 2012

Using boats for transport in the canals of Amsterdam

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 11:18 am

Bright reports about an inner city shipping company that uses an actual ship in Amsterdam.

The electronic freighter of Mokum Mariteam, the magazine writes, “replaces five trucks, and is quieter and cleaner.” (The company’s estimate is more conservative: “a boat of 20 by 4.25 metres, [and a] nett volume […] of 85 cubic metres (four compact trucks)”.) The batteries can power the boat for an entire day.

The canals of Amsterdam were dug originally at least partly for transport, but that function seems to have fallen into disuse, until recently. Bright adds that German logistics company DHL (originally American) has been using a canal boat for delivering packages “for years”. (Since October 1997, Binnenvaart.nl adds.)

The text on the side of the City Supplier, ‘vracht door de gracht’, simply means ‘freight through the canal’. The word ‘Mokum’ in the company name refers to the Yiddish name for Amsterdam, Mokum (Alef), literally meaning ‘city A’.

(Photo: Mokum Mariteam)

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July 19, 2009

Inner city cargo train system in Utrecht

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 1:28 pm

When I was a teenager, I had to bike through the narrow and windy cobblestone streets of a typically Dutch city centre to get to school, and part of that ride was spent waiting behind large, four-ton trucks delivering who knows what. Maybe it was 50 envelopes or a crate of tomatoes. It gave me the time to muse about a system where cargo was off-loaded just outside the city centre to smaller, horse-drawn carts for further distribution.

Although Utrecht-based company Cargohopper ditched the horse, they did implement this scheme for distributing goods to inner city stores to a tee. The small width, 1.25 metre, will surely lead to less irritation for the other road users.

Some figures from the company:

Cargohopper is a vehicle that can tow 3 metric tonnes in a linear line by means of a 48 Volt 28 hp electric engine. Its max speed is 20 km/h, but that is more than enough as it is only driving in the inner city of Utrecht and does not do more than 60 kilometres a day.


Once empty, it collects dry cardboard, paper and empty packaging from shops for recycling, so it never runs empty. In this way, Cargohopper removes up to 100,000 van kilometres from the inner city streets and saves about 30 tonnes of CO2 annually.

(Link: Autobloggreen. Photo: Cargohopper.)

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