IKEA Partnership Launching One of the Largest Zero Emission Vehicle Fleets in Canada for Deliveries: Interview

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GoBolt, formerly Bolt Logistics, is partnering with IKEA Canada to deploy one of Canada’s largest zero emission vehicle fleets.

The company said the deployment accelerates GoBolt’s mission to be carbon negative by 2023 and IKEA Canada’s goal to reach 100 per cent zero-emission deliveries by 2025.

GoBolt, a leading Canadian technology-enabled ecommerce fulfillment and last-mile delivery provider, will deploy 30 electric vehicles (EVs) across the country in 2022 in partnership with leading global home furnishing retailer IKEA Canada. It marks one of Canada’s largest zero-emissions, medium-duty vehicle distributions for commercial deliveries to date.

IKEA Canada 2021 Report
Mark Ang

“GoBolt is committed to being a planet positive business. We’re demonstrating this commitment through our laser focus on becoming a carbon-negative logistics company by the end of 2023. This involves making a conscious investment to help ensure we can provide a zero-emission, carbon-negative last-mile delivery solution, while funding carbon sequestering initiatives around the globe” said Mark Ang, CEO of GoBolt. “We are thrilled to be working with IKEA Canada on this initiative and look forward to continuing to collaborate on building smarter and greener supply chains.”

GoBolt’s first zero emission delivery trucks have officially hit the road earlier this year, with 29 to follow across British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario this year.

Melissa Barbosa

“With transportation being one of the largest contributors of the global climate crisis, IKEA Canada is committed to eradicating carbon emissions and electrifying its last-mile delivery service, utilizing the benefits of electric vehicles to further transform the market,” said Melissa Barbosa, Head of Sustainability at IKEA Canada. “The value-add of deploying zero emission vehicles accelerates our goal of becoming more accessible, affordable, and sustainable for our customer network.

“We have some lofty ambitions, a positive strategy. One of those ambitions as an organization is to be 100 per cent circular and climate positive by 2030. Within that ambition we have a subset of goals and zero-emission delivery and services by 2025 is one of those goals. So globally we are as an organization all trying to achieve this goal of zero-emission transport by 2025 and GoBolt has been one of our trusted partners. Their values are very aligned with ours.”

Ang said the company, based in Toronto, started in 2017 as a storage company that would pick up, store and return consumer items. People would go to the website, fill in a simple request for what they wanted stored and then the company, called Second Closet, would show up at a date and time they had selected to pick their things up and bring them back to storage.

Image: GoBolt

“We took a big step back. We wanted to try and drive a little bit more direct value as a business versus this dormant space. Storage is obviously pretty sleepy and it wasn’t really in line with what we wanted to be when we grew up,” he said.

“The good news is that we really built a supply chain network for big and bulky product. We had warehouses, people, technology, and processes built around handling big and awkward things that were already pre-built and needed to be protected and brought to storage and so to store and deliver them to customers with a white glove level of service and connect our facilities with technology to orchestrate was in the realm of possibility and we were already doing it in a small way.

“So what GoBolt has become is a B2B complex logistics and delivery company where we store products – pick and pack sort of facilities and then conduct a final mile with our truck fleet. We rebranded from Second Closet to GoBolt as a show that we were now a 100 per cent B2B business. The name GoBolt comes from a desire to be quick at what we do because lightning strikes fast but also electrify our entire final mile.”

Ang said GoBolt originally started speaking with IKEA about ways it could support their business back in 2019.

Image: IKEA & GoBolt (Formerly Known as Bolt Logistics and before that, Second Closet)

“As it so happened, it was a pretty normal time. There was no COVID and everything was just kind of running business as usual. We got to a point where we started to integrate with them and really align culturally that we wanted to both be positive businesses and if we could find a way to work together that would be really nice synergy to drive our electrification goals forward faster,” said Ang.

“Then COVD struck and we were in a position where we could start supporting them immediately. So the working relationship started then and our planning and implementation behind the scenes around EV continued to increase in velocity. That’s how the relationship started. We started off with one location in Toronto and now we support properties in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver. This is going to help us expand our electrification footprint to all those four markets in Canada.”

Ang said GoBolt’s aspiration is to help light the fire in innovation in the logistics space. It wants to move the market toward more electrification.

“We think that the more that companies can leverage electrification the better all of the infrastructure become, the better the vehicles become the more cash flow these OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) to drive more R&D to build additional versions of a previous, the better infrastructure becomes utilities get more equipped and better prepared to actually support the overnight lows to support these swaths of vehicles,” said Ang.

“That’s what we want the future to look like . . .  It’s going to be a consumer demand that businesses are conscious about their carbon footprint. And logistics takes up a massive amount of companies’ carbon footprints. I think this is one of the obvious areas to focus on.”

IKEA Canada is part of Ingka Group which operates 389 IKEA stores in 32 countries, including 14 in Canada. Last year, IKEA Canada welcomed 31 million visitors to its stores and 117 million visitors to IKEA.ca.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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