An unusual vehicle has been making deliveries in Squamish. This three-wheeled cargo bike can carry up to 200 pounds of packages all while producing zero emissions.
It’s part of a pilot project launched by Sea to Sky Courier to demonstrate sustainable local deliveries in the Downtown and Industrial Park areas of Squamish.
Sea to Sky Courier has proudly served the corridor for 24 years, and in that time Kal Kaila has seen major changes in town. ”When we started the business back in 1998, Squamish was kinda off the radar. Today we have more traffic and it’s harder for our drivers to get around.
He’s seen costs skyrocket with inflation and record high fuel prices. The pandemic created a surge in demand for deliveries, and all those extra delivery vehicles produce tons of emissions. Freight already represents 42% of all transportation emissions in Canada, and by 2030 freight transport is expected to surpass passenger vehicle emissions.
That’s why Sea to Sky Courier decided to partner with Zero, a startup building zero-emission logistics solutions here in Squamish. Local entrepreneurs, David Lee and Luke Friesen started Zero with a plan to use electric cargo bikes to replace van deliveries: “We both studied in Europe where cargo bikes have been shown to deliver faster than vans, with 90% fewer emissions,” says Lee.
Amazon recently announced it would use cargo bikes to replace thousands of van deliveries in London. But cities in North America have been lagging behind.
“We wanted to prove that it could work at home in Squamish.” The last-mile of a parcel’s journey, from transportation hub to doorstep, is the most polluting and expensive step in the supply chain. And urban last-mile delivery is the kind of environment where cargo bikes shine, using bike lanes to bypass traffic and easily finding space to park. During the pilot, Sea to Sky Courier’s customers in the Downtown and Industrial Park areas are getting accustomed to receiving their packages by bike. “Our bike attracts a lot of attention and people constantly ask us if we have ice cream inside”, said Friesen.
“It just makes sense in a place like Squamish where people are all about biking and making green choices”, said David Webster of Squamish Toyota, where they now receive frequent deliveries by bike. It has become impossible to ignore the effects of climate change, with extreme heat, fires, and damaging floods hitting close to home. “We’ve worked with Zero since June, and they’ve helped us reduce our monthly gas bill, and showcase our commitment to a sustainable future” says Kaila.
“We’re excited to have a partner like Sea to Sky Courier willing to try something innovative to combat climate change”, said Friesen. Sea to Sky Courier and Zero are seeking more businesses interested in providing sustainable delivery options for their customers. Together they serve customers throughout the Sea to Sky corridor from Pemberton to Chilliwack. Zero emission deliveries by bike cover the Downtown, Dentville, Industrial Park, North Yards and Garibaldi Village areas. “Today we have 1 bike in Squamish, but we envision hundreds of bikes serving urban areas across BC, helping the logistics industry shift away from fossil fuels.”