Peer-to-peer delivery service arrives in UK

The sharing economy could be about to disrupt the UK delivery sector with successful Norwegian 'social delivery' service Nimber aiming to "plug a sustainability gap" in Britain.

The peer-to-peer delivery service makes use of unused capacity by using real people who are going somewhere anyway to make deliveries, bringing about significant environmental benefits.

Nimber has already clocked up more than 10,000 deliveries and 30,000 members in its Scandinavian motherland; cutting carbon emissions by 198 tonnes simply by circumnavigating the businesses that currently monopolise the UK delivery industry.

“The success we have had in Norway demonstrates that peer to peer delivery can greatly boost the sustainability of the sector, adding a personal touch along the way,” said Nimber chief executive Ari Kestin. “We can’t wait to see Brits embrace our service.

“Our community is set to transport everything from sofas and surfboards to forgotten keys and luggage, enabling carbon footprint reductions, financial savings and the opportunity to meet new people along the way; Nimber is a revolutionary new addition to the UK delivery sector.”

Nimber: How it works…

Utilising a community of ‘senders’ and ‘bringers’, users can enlist another Nimber member, going their way anyway, to deliver the desired item as part of a commute or regular journey. The system makes use of existing car and van capacity – and potentially other vehicles as well, including lorries, trains and even London’s Tube system. 

The sender pays a small fee – which they set with the support of Nimber’s pricing algorithms that help to suggest a fair price depending on size, distance and speed – directly to the bringer. This makes the cost of using the service unique to each delivery and typically cheaper when compared to other options, such as the Royal Mail or courier services. In Norway, Nimber bringers have saved up to £50,000 a year through the service.

System revolutionary

The sharing economy – which sees owners rent out or swap something they are not using – has exploded into life over the past 12 months. According to sharing economy advocate ‘Love Home Swap’, an estimated 25% of Brits already take part in sharing online, and current global revenues of around £9bn could reach £230bn per year by 2025.

In an exclusive interview with edie, Sustainability Live speaker David Bent of Forum for the Future explained how sharing services such as Airbnb, Uber and Zipcar are now at the forefront of a communal culture shift which threatens to ‘destroy’ traditional business models.

“The vast majority of incumbent businesses have habituated themselves to get slightly better at what they’re already doing rather than exploring new business models, often because they can’t allocate enough resources,” Bent said.

Luke Nicholls

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