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Urban Logistics – How to survive the crowd

Oh, travelling, such an enjoyable experience, right? Taking long walks just to get to know the city, and its corners and, of course, to improve your fitness and feel proud of it. Calling a taxi? Renting a car? No way! Subways and buses are more eco-friendly and time-efficient, as well as an excellent way to understand local people’s routines.

Speaking of which, do we really have an actual idea of what these routines truly look like? Imagine dealing with crowd and traffic. Imagine having to leave one hour before your workday starts when the actual distance is just 20 km – only to realise that you won’t be at home at a good time to shop for fruit and food… Maybe it’s better to buy online, right?

It might be a relief, but what about the shipping company? Thanks to slow traffic, road signalling and traffic lights, it’s sometimes impossible to deliver everything planned for one working day. Now that we left you anxious as well as eternally thankful to shipping companies let us just say this is quite difficult to manage because of some political issues.

All these problems have been reflected by many researchers, being the primary objective to find the best path towards an organised urban logistics plan – so that things like traffic can be more fluid, organised and less complicated.

One solution that has been studied and recently implemented in some cities is called Urban Consolidation Center (UCC). It aims at integrating all deliveries from different shipping companies in one single forwarder who would be responsible for delivering at a town from a UCC. Long-term speaking, pollution levels should be reduced (noise and gas emissions), and the full motion within the city should be more fluid.

 

Motomachi UCC

There are some successful examples of UCC’s around the world. One of them is Motomachi, in Japan. As shown in the following picture, Motomachi UCC is located 300 metres from the city center, to reduce traffic congestion and CO2 emissions. Having been implemented in 2004, it brought some changes, which are really worth speaking about. 85% of goods are now covered by a cooperative freight transport system. As the picture shows, the system itself takes care of the whole delivery process, up since its pickup.

 

Motomachi

Image: http://conference.grassproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/1-E_Taniguchi-Concepts-of-city-logistics-for-sustainable-and-liveable-cities.pdf

 

1300 shops take part in this UCC as well as 500 individual homes. When it comes to traffic, what started as 100 vans circulating from different companies every 10 days, they now count only 11, which belong to the same company and use an alternative fuel (CNG).

 

CityDepot – Belgium

Defining themselves as specialists in Smart Distribution, CityDepot is currently operating in Hasselt, Leuven, Gent and Antwerp with a growing perspective. By delivering goods by road or water, their main bet nowadays is on eco-friendly transportation, having started lately with electric vehicles. With a logistic center located on the edge of every town, CityDepot tries to contribute to a better living and moving on great cities.

 

CityDepot truck

Image: http://e-truckseurope.com/en/projects/citydepot-hasselt

 

The latest results show that CityDepot delivers annually 70,000 parcels and 15,000 pallets to approximately 2,000 customers. Weekly, there are two to four retailers in every city joining their network.

In Europe, there have been some projects to enhance discussions on this matter. The latest is Cluster Dorothy, whose goal is to promote innovation in European Urban Logistics through regional specialisation cluster organisations, mainly in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany and Romany. Although it is early to talk about results, the fact is this is a concerning matter for public agendas.

Now it would be a perfect moment to talk about EMBERS and how its technology can improve urban logistics, so why don’t give it a try? Just get in touch with us to find out how urban friendly we can be.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this post.