Delivery firm DPD Ireland is continuing its green push with a move to biofuels for its heavy goods vehicles.

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil will replace diesel as the fuel used on its line-haul routes - where parcels are carried from DPD's hub in Athlone to its 35 depots across the island.

DPD says this will cut its CO2 emissions by 4,350 tonnes per year.

The change-over does not require any conversion to the vehicles, though the fuel does cost more per litre than diesel.

"It's costing about 7 cent a litre more than diesel but it doesn't cost you anything for the vehicle," said Des Travers, CEO of DPD Ireland.

"The joy of HVO is that it can be combined with diesel in the vehicle, so you don't have any worries about having any difficulty with the vehicle after you've used it or in any of the journeys getting back and forward between the depots and the hub."

It also required DPD to install biofuel storage tanks at its Athlone hubs, as HVO is not yet available at commercial pumps.

However, Mr Travers said the company ultimately sees the move as a temporary one, with the hope that it will be able to move to more efficiently-powered vehicles in the coming years.

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"It's the only option available to us at the moment because of the lack of electric vehicles of that size," he said. "We think it will only be a short-term thing, maybe three or four years, before the technology allows us to move on.

"But this is the best we could do at the current time."

The change is part of DPD's plan to decarbonise its entire fleet by 2030.

As part of that it is awaiting delivery of 205 new, all-electric vans from Ford. This will see electric vehicles make up 20% of its fleet.

DPD's latest announcement comes as it prepares for a busy Christmas period, though Mr Travers said it was unlikely to reach the heights seen during pandemic lockdowns.

"With the pandemic everybody was on ecommerce and shipping through any of the parcel carries - so I would think that all the parcel carriers will be slightly down on where they were last year," he said.

"The B2C [business to consumer] portion of our business has dropped, as it has for everyone," he said.

"But we're still expecting a very, very, very busy Christmas - and we've done all of our planning since June for it so we'll be ready and we hope to delivery to our customers a great service," he added.