How do we make deliveries when there are no roads or trucks?

By using an electric-powered boat to deliver our ice creams in Venice, we are reducing both our CO2 emissions and the marine pollution affecting the city.

Overcoming delivery restrictions

With no roads or trucks in Venice, the city relies on boats to ferry people and goods through its famous canals. But marine pollution is a huge concern, especially the damaging effect of waves. And so the authorities are increasingly restricting how and at what times commercial barges can make deliveries. This could have caused us a big problem, particularly when we’re trying to satisfy demand from residents and tourists who need a cooling ice cream during the searing heat of summer.

But our local supply chain team overcame the challenge with a first-of-its-kind electric-powered refrigerated boat. This eco-friendly alternative – which can sail the canals without the restrictions placed on traditional vessels – delivers our ice creams to shops, bars and restaurants in the historic centre as well as to the Magnum store in the heart of the lagoon.

Reducing emissions, fulfilling demand

Using electric energy to power the boat cuts CO2 emissions by 70% compared with other fuels. It also reduces the damaging wave motion and noise pollution caused by traditional engines. What’s more, because the boat operates without restrictions, we are able to react quickly to increases in demand, replenishing stocks from our warehouse to any one of our 360 sales outlets in just two hours.

Watch this short video to see the boat in action and the spectacular launch of the Magnum store

As Giuseppe Galantuomo, Unilever’s Logistics Director for Southern Europe, says: “This is a clear example of how innovative thinking can lead to a win-win solution. By anticipating market needs and taking the initiative with new technologies, this development is helping the environment and growing our business.”

The team will now share the technical results of the season’s activities with the boat manufacturer, Cantieri Amadi, to develop a new gondola that gives even better performance.

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