B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery: Moving Portland Into the Future, Today
B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery is a company unlike any other operating in the US today.
Founded in 2009 by Franklin Jones, the idea for this Portland business came to him as he rode by bike from Japan to Ireland. Traversing continents, Franklin rode through cities of all shapes and sizes, experiencing the varied ways different cultures deliver goods and manage logistics. He saw that many cultures utilize cargo trike set-ups, giving him the idea for a sustainable delivery method that could work in Portland, a city already synonymous with bike culture.
B-Line serves Portland’s urban core, delivering within a 2.5 mile radius of the city center. They harness a fleet of electric-assist pedal trikes that have the capacity to hold 600 pounds of cargo each, as well as a refrigerated truck for longer distance deliveries–a truck that they hope to convert from diesel to a cleaner fuel like electricity with state incentives.
B-Line’s delivery model leaves minimal to no carbon footprint. Since its inception, the company has helped Portland businesses avoid over 150,000 truck delivery miles – and all of the climate and air pollution that goes along with those miles traveled.
Aside from their business model’s clean air benefits, it’s a business set-up that has proven to be durable and reliable. While delivery trucks and vans were parked for days on end during this year’s harsh winter, B-Line’s bikes were on the road, performing business as usual. They were able to get products out the door when other modes of transport simply could not navigate icy streets or gridlocked traffic.
B-Line makes it easier for young, start-up companies to focus on growing their business without having to think about making time-consuming, daily deliveries. For example, B-Line’s Green Wheels Program, a partnership with New Seasons Market, brings local treasures like Sisters Fruit Company, Elliot Nut Butter and Jacobson’s Salt to the local grocery store chain’s 18 locations. This program fulfills a special need, helping local food producers that may be too small to fit into a larger distribution system, but are now too big to handle their own deliveries. Through this program alone, B-Line has helped small businesses reduce over 1,105 individual delivery trips – and streamlined shipment receiving for the store by getting goods to the store from multiple local vendors in one bulk delivery.
Smaller companies are not the only ones who benefit from B-Line; the Portland Timbers is an example of a company utilizing B-Line because it speaks to their own commitment to sustainability. Working in partnership with Office Depot, B-Line provides sustainable delivery of office supplies to the Portland Timbers’ local offices. This is one way for a larger company with a commitment to sustainability to reduce their carbon footprint.
B-Line’s story shows why our state should move beyond the old highways-focused approach, and how a modern, connected transportation system can work for urban businesses. By creating connected bike networks, setting greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, and working to electrify our transportation sector, we can help businesses like B-Line thrive, while also making our communities safer (less freight vehicles in the urban core) and our air cleaner.
B-Line’s company story demonstrates the pioneering, innovative spirit Oregonians are known for, and the future that’s possible for our state – should lawmakers decide to fund a comprehensive transportation package that supports new, efficient, sustainable and equitable ways to move both goods and people. The benefits are clear: let’s move Oregon forward with a comprehensive transportation package this legislative session.