An electric riverboat is helping to deliver parcels up and down the Seine river in Paris, in a bid to cut down on emissions from cars and vans in the city centre.
Fludis is a 40m-long river barge that travels up and down the river. It is 100% electric, and works as a floating warehouse. Staff travel onboard, and as the barge travels, they load up their bikes with parcels.
Once they arrive at the right destination along the river, delivery cyclists are lifted – along with their loaded bikes – onto the quay, to begin deliveries more locally.
This enables it to make multiple deliveries throughout the capital, with zero emissions.
1/3 Aujourd’hui, sur les quais de #Seine, j'ai présenté les chiffres 2021 du #Fret #Fluvial à la presse lors d’une démonstration de logistique urbaine proposée par #FLUDIS, alliant bateau entrepôt & #Cyclofret pour desservir le centre parisien. pic.twitter.com/A6EfSzCFLF— Thierry Guimbaud (@Th_Guimbaud) May 31, 2022
The boat leaves the quai d’Austerlitz at around 08:30, and travels towards the Gros Caillou port, west of Paris. It will deliver around 800 parcels throughout the course of the day, mainly to offices and commercial buildings.
Kevin Janin, Fludis development manager, told the HuffPost: "This boat, this floating warehouse, allows us to use cargo bikes to deliver to the streets of central Paris, to get through traffic more easily and to reach customers more quickly.”
The group called on an architecture studio to help design the boat, which has two storeys. One acts as a warehouse, and another has a loading and unloading system.
The boat is entirely powered by electric batteries.
Mr Janin explained: "We have a battery bank that directly powers our two thrusters. And this is powered in two ways: either it is powered at night thanks to a dockside terminal that allows us to power the boat while it is parked; or we have an additional generator that allows us to power even more.”
Its main client is Lyreco, the office furniture supplier, but the company is aiming to expand to more companies in the near future.
Parcel delivery has historically been relatively controversial in Paris.
In 2019, mayor Anne Hidalgo proposed the introduction of new laws and taxes that would control the number of deliveries from online stores, including retail giant Amazon.
It also comes as the city looks to restrict emissions from vehicles in the centre, cut the number of parking spaces, and move towards more eco-friendly options.