Most municipalities have managed to ban heavy truck traffic from their inner cities giving them some breathing space, both literally and figuratively. Yet, with the rapid growth in the number of courier, express and parcel (CEP) services, both in the past and in the future, they are faced with new challenges. According to the figures of the Federal Association of Parcel and Express Logistics (BIEK), the volume of CEP shipments grew by 57% between 2000 and 2013. The consequences: double-parked delivery vans in the street or on pedestrian and cycle paths, dangerous overtaking manoeuvers and chronic obstruction of already congested traffic routes.
Together with cities and local authorities, logistics service providers are looking for new approaches.
The trend towards more and more CEP traffic will continue in the future. According to experts there is no doubt about that. In addition to the growing internet trade in the B2C sector, the driver of this development is, above all, the increasing competitive pressure in the retail sector, leading to a further reduction in warehouse space.
Especially smaller businesses rely on the optimisation of supply chains under the keyword “just in time”. Against this background, logistics service providers are also looking for new approaches. In its “Sustainability Study on Downtown Logistics” (02/2015), the BIEK calls for intensive cooperation with the cities and local authorities. The common goal: efficient and sustainable transport of goods. After all, most of the pick-up and delivery on the “last mile” takes place in urban agglomerations.
Reaching one´s destination with new rules, micro-depots and cargo bikes
The objective of achieving a high quality living and visiting standard in the cities and municipalities and safe traffic routes for all is already thwarted by current delivery traffic. There are certainly solutions, but they inevitably call for close cooperation between all parties involved – CEP service providers, retailers and various departments in the municipalities themselves. These include planning measures such as the designation of new loading zones with a much more consistent traffic monitoring system, as well as measures by the legislature to privilege commercial traffic in loading areas. Example: Introduction of the “zigzag line”, sign 299 of the Road traffic Act, in conjunction with a new “loading area” traffic sign.
The promotion of automated lockers and central pick-up stations as well as the establishment of so-called micro-depots also seem sensible and necessary. The latter serve as transfer points (hubs) from which deliveries in the vicinity are performed on foot or by cargo bike. Cargo bikes can take on an important role here in the future as they expand the radius and performance of couriers around the hub and provide the ability to store shipments safely and weatherproof in boxes.
The renaissance of cargo bikes has already begun