Improved quality of life thanks to inner-city logistics

Urban logistics is vitally important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life in cities (photo: iStock, Franz Wilhelm Franzelin).

Movement in confined spaces: Leading experts gathered for the 29th Meeting of the Club of Logistics in Hamburg to discuss the issue of “how to combine efficient logistics and quality of life in our cities in the future.” Our CEO, Vincent Kobesen, took part in one of the panel discussions focussing on the importance of logistics – an aspect that should not be neglected when planning and designing urban areas.

Kobesen thinks that inner-city logistics plays an important role, especially for cities committed to providing a good quality of life. Online shopping and delivery to your doorstep – that is extremely convenient. And it has become just as important as commercial transport with its regular supply and disposal services. We need efficient logistics processes to ensure that all supplies reach consumers, shops and offices in urban areas. Kobesen states: “Without well planned out city logistics, citizens will be unhappy.”

Therefore it is essential that all aspects related to city logistics are taken into consideration at an early stage of urban and spatial planning. Citizens, industry and trade as well as restaurants and hotels require a constant supply of goods. Higher transport volumes, especially e-commerce and home deliveries, contribute to a further increase in goods transport. This of course leads to an increasing number of logistics services provided within in a limited space, which has effects on the environment, traffic volume and road safety. “Cities face the challenge of being attractive to industry and population, while minimizing the logistical side effects such as noise, congestion and pollution,” says Kobesen.

There is an increasing number of new business models that integrate e-mobility, sharing and new types of services. Kobesen is convinced that the future lies in MaaS – Mobility as a Service. “New concepts such as crowd delivery or the combined transport of passengers and goods can enrich freight transport planning and management in highly dynamic urban environments,” explains Kobesen. Customer service has always played an important role in logistics. “Logistics as a Service has long been part of logistics.”

Vincent Kobesen, CEO of PTV, is convinced that the future of urban logistics lies in a closer collaboration between urban planners, transport and trip planners (photo: PTV Group).

Cities need new delivery concepts in order to make commercial traffic more effective: According to Kobesen, their major challenge will be to provide urban logistics combined with planning and optimization of the last mile. This includes comprehensive approaches such as urban distribution centres, the use of environmentally friendly drive technologies, alternative transportation concepts and much closer collaboration between all actors involved. Moreover, solutions like the Physical Internet, where goods can be transported via a global, open logistics network using standardized boxes, allow planners to simplify handling processes, achieve bundling effects, and increase delivery reliability. His conclusion: “The future of urban logistics is based on a closer cooperation between urban planners, transport and trip planners. Collaborations across enterprise and system boundaries enable more efficient and more reliable deliveries. Self-driving, electric vehicles and shared mobility fleets help reconcile economic efficiency and climate protection. This requires an openness to new, integrated and sustainable concepts, as well as a more extensive and secure exchange of information and data between the public sector and business and industry partners.”