Urban freight

Freight associated with local supply and demand is typically termed "last mile" as it represents the last (or first) link in supply chains. Last mile includes delivery or pickup of imports / exports, intra-metropolitan trade of commodities (local production and consumption), deliveries to or from retailers, etc.

The increase in the amount of freight moving through urban areas has worsened congestion because goods movements, like passengers, contribute to congestion. In modern supply chains, urban freight distribution typically makes up the final mile, but it does so in an environment where a number of limitations are made worse. Reliability of distribution is a critical logistics issue that is challenged by the tendency of large urban areas to have high levels of congestion.

Local authorities need to engage with logistic players and local businesses to come up with innovative strategies reconciling two potential conflicting elements: a freight distribution system that satisfy the market demand, and a liveable, emission-free urban environment. This has led to a wide range of initiatives to improve air quality and safety, test and develop clean & alternative fleet, encourage consolidation and promote stakeholder engagement.


Our work on Urban Freight

POLIS plays a central role at the European level for projects and activities related to urban freight. Thanks to the POLIS Urban Freight Working Group, POLIS members meet at regular intervals to discuss sustainable solutions to problems facing urban freight, share good practices and improve collaboration with industry, and accelerate deployment of solutions. Via the Urban Freight Working Group, POLIS has delivered actionable reports and policy recommendations to the European institutions, and developed databases and tools to facilitate the exchange of experiences among its members. 

Since 2019, POLIS has partnered with the Alliance for Logistics Innovation in Europe (ETP-ALICE) to promote public-private strategic dialogue through yearly webinars and face-to-face gatherings. The goal is to identify solutions for cleaner and efficient urban logistics. 


POLIS engagement in European initiatives

POLIS is co-leading with ACEA and ETP-ALICE the subgroup on urban logistics of the Expert Group on Urban Mobility (EGUM), set up by the European Commission in 2022, with the objective to implement the Urban Mobility Framework.

POLIS is an active member of the European Clean Trucking Alliance (ECTA), a broad coalition of European businesses and organisations urging zero-emission solutions for the trucking industry.

POLIS has been and is involved in many EU-funded projects focusing on urban freight, such as DISCO, GREEN-LOG, UNCHAIN, URBANE. Projects completed in the last years are BESTFACT, BuyZET, CATCH, CITYLAB, LEAD, SURF, NOVELOG, SPROUT, among others.