Cargo bike couriers pick up extra deliveries, with van drivers off work with Covid-19

Nocar Cargo cycle courier business has picked up work from another courier company which is short of drivers, meaning an increase of up to 200 parcels delivered each day by bike instead of by car.  Pictured: Co-owner Christian Williams.

Ross Giblin/Stuff

Nocar Cargo cycle courier business has picked up work from another courier company which is short of drivers, meaning an increase of up to 200 parcels delivered each day by bike instead of by car. Pictured: Co-owner Christian Williams.

A driver shortage in Wellington is meaning up to 200 more packages are being delivered by bicycle courier each day.

Nocar Cargo has partnered with courier company Aramex to deliver some of their parcels as the industry experiences the impact of Covid-19, a number of couriers in the Wellington region currently unwell or isolating.

This means more deliveries than ever are being delivered emissions-free – and often quicker than traditional couriers – within the central city. Before Covid-19 they were doing about 80 deliveries a day.

The wave of Omicron around the country has seen worker shortages across all sectors, from restaurants to supermarkets, and businesses changing how they operate to stay afloat.

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Nocar Cargo co-owner Jamie Hoare said most of their deliveries were same-day, with their main market being printing, business cards, posters, pamphlets and car parts.

The printed goods might be intuitive, but car parts less so. Hoare explained that it took a lot of effort for cars to be put up and down in hoists, so once a car was up there, it was easier to leave it there until the necessary part had arrived and could be fitted.

“Plus, people typically want their car back on the same day, because they need it,” he said.

Bikes are often more cost-efficient, timely and reliable than cars for same day deliveries.

Ross Giblin/Stuff

Bikes are often more cost-efficient, timely and reliable than cars for same day deliveries.

Hoare said bikes worked out more cost-efficient and timely and reliable than cars for same-day deliveries. “We never have to find parking, and we don’t get held up by traffic,” he said.

Each Omnium cargo bikes, powered by Lekkie motors and batteries, can carry up to 80 kilograms.

“We can be competitive on price because we have no fuel and less maintenance costs,” Hoare said.

The business launched in 2015, but after three years it was put up for sale, and was bought by Hoare and his friend Christian Williams. Chris Baker bought in a little later, and the company now had two and a half full-time riders.

The pandemic was originally a worrying time for their company; Their business was dropping away because the city was clearing out, people weren’t coming in to work, and businesses were operating from home or contactlessly.

Covid-19, although off to a worrying start, actually turned out to be a boon for the company, with more deliveries coming their way thanks to shortages in driers.

Ross Giblin/Stuff

Covid-19, although off to a worrying start, actually turned out to be a boon for the company, with more deliveries coming their way thanks to shortages in driers.

But it turned out to be a huge boon for them; the other company, who was not immediately available for comment, now drops off 80 to 200 parcels to a day to Nocar Cargo’s Mount Victoria depot for delivery in the central city.

It hadn’t increased the distance they traveled, Hoare said, but had increased the density of their deliveries, meaning they were even more cost-effective and efficient.

Aramex New Zealand chief executive Mark Little said the safety of their couriers, staff and the public was of paramount importance. “We are happy to be partnering with Nocar Cargo to ensure there is minimal impact to our customers during this time of increased delivery demand, while supporting another local business at the same time.”

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