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Urban hub "BentoBox" fosters cargo bike deliveries in Berlin

02 February 2012

Last week, the city of Berlin presented the “BentoBox”, Europe’s first prototype of a flexible collection station for packages, little packets and smaller sachets. The station was combined with the deployment of innovative cargo bikes to achieve quick, cost efficient, emission free and almost silent distribution of goods.

The “BentoBox” has been set up in cooperation of politics, administration and corporations to find innovative solutions for business transactions in Berlin. Setting up an additional city hub to coordinate distribution allowed supplying a number of densely populated neighborhoods using cargo bikes, including some electric ones.

Due to its variously sized shelves the “BentoBox” allows collecting all kinds of mailings, ranging from moving boxes to single letters. Certain parts of the box are accessible to end customers who can pick up their mail directly, others are designed for CEP services incl. couriers, express and parcel services. Applying GPRS connection allows integrating the “BentoBox” directly in enterprise disposition processes. This technology will in future allow to inform recipients about the status of their mailing.

The “BentoBox” had been integrated in the regular logistics services by Messenger Transport + Logistik GmbH in Berlin for the last two months. Messenger Director Achim Beier concludes: “Before, we delivered mailings by car directly to the recipient. Since we apply the BentoBox as a collection and distribution centre, delivery by car finishes at the BentoBox. The remaining distance from the box and to the box is covered by cargo bike. Like this, we could reduce car trips in the respective districts by 85%.”

The BentoBox has been installed in the framework of the CityLog project, co-funded by FP7. For additional field tests the BentoBox now moves to Lyon (France) and later to Turin (Italy).