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City logistics

Our view on the future of city logistics

The increase in city traffic is making it challenging to deliver goods swiftly and efficiently, while reducing the impact on the environment. Over the last few years, PostNL has been working hard to optimise our logistic processes, both from an efficiency and an environmental perspective.

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We believe that future city logistics that are sustainable will require the development of new delivery business models, which is why we continued to develop our vision on possible sustainable city logistics in 2018. 

In our approach we applied three important principles: 

  • Future-oriented
  • Sustainable
  • Nuisance-free

In general, cities can be divided into three areas. Small and very densely populated historical city centres, densely populated areas with wider streets and more spacious outskirts. Given the rise in air pollution and traffic congestion issues, city councils are likely to enforce emission-free delivery in historic city centres. This may be unrestricted for light electric vehicles, such as cargo bikes, but include restrictions, such as access during specific times, for electric vans. 

Densely populated areas will also probably become emission free. The use of Parcel and Mail Machines (Pakket en Brievenbus Automaten) and retail shops in these areas could create opportunities to deliver batches of parcels more efficiently, reducing traffic. Low-emission vehicles and emission-free vehicles are likely to be the new norm in these areas. 

At the border of these areas, we expect consolidation centres to play an important role in reducing the number of journeys into and out of the city from other locations. For example, the consolidation of goods would lead to cleaner, more efficient city deliveries using electric vans instead of larger trucks, which are still commonly used today.

At PostNL, we have identified five key areas where we believe we can help shape the future of city logistics: 

  • Sustainable operations
    One example is the emission-free delivery we already make in the inner city of Leeuwarden 
  • Sustainable propositions
    We currently run a consolidation centre in Amsterdam 
  • Use of digital solutions and data to optimise our processes 
  • Optimising our network integration in cities
  • Representation
    This could be through stakeholder dialogues, thought leadership with Smart City Network and dialogues with city councils.
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