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PhD Studentship: Developing green and efficient final mile logistics strategies

Transportation Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Tuesday 01 January 2019
Reference:  993118AT

Project Reference: CDT-SIS-496

With our increasing love affair with on-line shopping, the pressure on delivery companies to meet our ever exacting delivery requirements is increasing. This leads to increasing inefficiency in the system, especially as we move into an era of ‘same-day’ delivery where you can receive your goods a few hours after ordering them. In urban areas where bus and cycle lanes as well as increasing pedestrian facilities are resulting in diminishing kerbside space for delivery vehicles, the addition of new low-emissions zones means an increasingly challenging operating environment for couriers.  

Carriers are having to explore new operating scenarios to get round these issues including consolidating goods, using more environmentally friendly non-motorised modes over the last-mile, and forming collaborative working relationships with other carriers and third parties, all of which involve developing new operating and fleet optimisation models.  

Through this project, you will have the opportunity to help develop and implement some new approaches to solving our urban delivery problems impacting on the parcel sector.  

About the sponsor: CitySprint Group, with revenue of £180mn, is the UK’s largest same-day logistics company, and London accounts for over 30% of it’s national revenue. It’s also where it has the greatest concentration of high profile clients and the most challenging operational environment. Since 2015, it has invested over 50% of EBITDA into a technology group (Last Mile Link) to build new cloud based platforms to manage the entire business commercially and operationally. Furthermore, CitySprint is trialling the first hydrogen van for logistics use in the UK.  

The company is rapidly expanding into retail, healthcare, and food delivery sectors but is met with structural challenges such as courier utilization and a self-employed fleet with vehicles not ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) compliant .  

The research will be critical to help CitySprint with the following but not limited to:  
•Improve courier utilization through peaks and troughs of demand  
•Improve customer service and provide faster deliveries (as a consequence of the above)  
•Predict when jobs may be early or late  
•Develop courier hotspots where fleet should be positioned to take on more work  
•Improve gross margins  
•Remove polluting vehicles from Central London  
•Introduce more zero-emission vehicles in Central London  

The ideal candidate will have a:  

Sharp business acumen to understand economic and market forces shaping the industry.  

Technical and mathematical skills to help create models and solutions.  

Coding skills would be advantageous.  

Strong inter-personal skills to immerse themselves in the company and work cross-functionally.  

Drive to help develop commercially viable solutions as opposed to theoretical models.  

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Tom Cherrett, Transportation Research Group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 4657.  

Funding for this project:

UK students: Full funding is available

EU students: Full funding may be available or a small top up from the student may be required, depending on the calibre of the student. Funding is competition based and the student must have at least a 2.1 degree or equivalent.

International students: A small amount of funding is available but the student must be largely self-funded. Funding is competition based and the student must have at least a 2.1 degree or equivalent.

Please be aware that the academic selectors review applications as soon as they are received so please make sure to submit your application for consideration as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

This project is being run in participation with the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (View Website). For details of our 4 Year PhD programme and further projects, please see

To apply, please use the following website:

The closing date for this job opportunity has now passed, and applications are no longer being accepted for this position

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