Sustainable city logistics

The Zedify story started with two founders, Rob King and Sam Keam.  They managed existing logistic businesses when they met at a cycle logistic business event.  Rob and Sam recognised e-commerce deliveries were accelerating.  The logistics market in the UK has historically revolved around motorised vehicles, typically vans.  Whilst vans may be an efficient means of transport on motorways, they are not ideal in city centres.  City delivery growth exacerbates congestion and air quality.  Joining forces made complete sense with their shared passion for logistics that make cities better places by swapping vans for cargo bikes.  I was fortunate to discover their story through speaking with Harriet Hird, their head of marketing, on the podcast.

Doing things differently

Zedify cargo bike - sustainable city logistics

Zedify consists of microhubs placed on the edge of a city centre.  They partner with numerous retailers and parcel carriers (such as Yodel and Evri) to cover the mileage within cities.  Upon delivery to the Zedify hub, parcels are consolidated and delivered via cargo bikes.

Cargo bikes employed by Zedify come in various shapes and sizes.  Within the fleet, they have 2-wheeled bikes; these are great for speedy deliveries of those parcels that are smaller in number or size.  They have 3-wheeled trikes, making up the backbone of the fleet, each reliably transporting about 200kg of parcels.  Additionally, there are 4-wheeled quads.  They source bikes from differing suppliers and have even started building and retrofitting vehicles themselves.  Mechanics are stationed at every hub to ensure their fleet remains in action.  The Zedify vehicles stand out in a swathe of typical traffic.  Hopefully, this visibility initiates curiosity into sustainable transportation of goods and services within cities.

Advantages of cargo bikes

  1. Less congestion – they are a much smaller delivery vehicle, so they take up less space on the street.  Consequently, they cause less congestion and can weave around slow/standing traffic. 
  2. Reducing carbon emissions – in 2022, they calculated a saving of 278 tonnes of CO2
  3. Cleaner air – no tailpipe emissions reduce pollutants such as NOx and PM2.5.

Cities covered

Zedify operates in 10 cities, involving a mixture of a franchise (individual business owners) and managed model (managed centrally).  They have an ambitious, centrally-managed growth plan to scale up the number of cities they operate in over the next 12-18 months.  



Zedify cargo bike - sustainable city logistics

Zedify’s customers range in size and have differing motivations for using their service.  Price is always a significant consideration, alongside the need for excellent service.  For those businesses looking to improve cities, are mindful of human health, and strive for sustainability, a cargo bike delivery service is a great choice.  Large retailers with big brands are under pressure to address environmental impact.  Switching their deliveries to cargo bikes can be a relatively easy task to make significant carbon emission savings.


Currently, Zedify’s delivery drivers are people interested in cycling and often pursue this job alongside other commitments, such as working as a student, musician or artist.  Drivers are typically male; Zedify is looking at how they can attract more diversity into the role.  Despite the cargo bikes being bigger than standard bicycles (obviously), they are electric-assisted and new staff are fully trained, allaying fears of manoeuvrability.  Although the job requires drivers to be physically fit, they don’t need to be ex-Olympians. 

Sustainability through the business 

It is no surprise that Zedify is addressing many aspects of its business through the sustainability lens.  They are striving to become a B Corp, a well-regarded mark of business as a force for good.  The process is demanding, but it authenticates the business values and operations.  With their mission to supply sustainable logistics whilst enabling cities to become better places, they are embedding eco-friendly choices throughout their business.  Ethically, lower-impact sourced uniforms are one such example. They produced a 2022 impact report explaining how their service benefits the environment (covering climate, healthy cities and social impacts).  


One challenge is the need for consumers to drive the demand for sustainable deliveries. Shoppers have voiced concern over packaging waste in their deliveries; this has driven change.  However, they have not recognised the environmental impact of the delivery method.  Or perhaps they are simply unaware of a choice.  We are familiar with seeing delivery options in terms of speed of delivery.  How fabulous would it be to see delivery by cargo bike in the online checkout process?  

The future of deliveries

Poor air quality and carbon emissions may not be directly visible, but their negative impact on health and changing climate, respectively, is increasingly being felt.  Cities are well-placed to catalyse significant changes to the way we live.  Less congestion, lower fumes and abating rising temperatures and extreme weather events are unquestionably desirable.