Urban logistics hubs: More than just e-commerce

The International Transport Forum (ITF) published on 25 June the report on urban logistics hubs.

This report expands on the expert discussions during the ITF Round Table, 'Urban Logistics Hubs,' held in Paris and by video conference on 26–27 June 2023. Laetitia Dablanc (Université Gustave Eiffel) chaired the Roundtable discussions.

Urban logistics are fundamental to city life. However, freight transport is responsible for around half of the local air pollutants in cities and generates congestion and other emissions. Moreover, urban logistics involves more than just e-commerce.

Recent trends in goods distribution, reverse logistics, the emergence of dark kitchens and dark stores, and growing regulatory demands, have made logistics more complex. The dual trend of logistics returning to the city and increasing demand for larger sub-urban warehouses must also be considered.

The report includes targeted advice for policymakers to proactively manage the complexities of urban logistics and facilitate the uptake and success of urban logistics hubs.

Urban logistics hubs are a means to optimise the last mile of urban logistics in terms of better transport and environmental performance. Several major conclusions from this report can guide policymakers tasked with the development of logistics hubs in urban areas.

The main takeaways from the report are:

✅ Logistics is more than e-commerce, as it involves a wide range of stakeholders with consumer and business demands.
✅ Shift to sustainable logistics, how to best design logistics to reduce vehicles and pollution.
✅ Strengthen understanding of logistics and hubs. Best-practice guidelines to frame policies.

Raffaele Vergnani, Urban Freight Cluster Lead at POLIS, took part in the Round Table and highlighted the common efforts to decarbonise urban freight with the ETP-ALICE, past and ongoing work on this topic from EU-funded projects such as MOVE21, MoLo Hubs, SURF, and with POLIS members like Rotterdam and Leuven.

The full report is available HERE.




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