Metropolitan logistics – the challenges modern cities have to face
Urban areas are growing and so are the logistical problems on site
In 2019, around 77.5% of the population in Germany lived in cities, and the trend is rising. More than half of all people worldwide live in cities. There are many reasons for the increasing urbanization. In big cities there are often more jobs, better working conditions, a larger selection of shopping opportunities with flexible hours, more variety and shorter distances. Young people in particular move to the cities to study and often stay there.
With the increasing population in the cities, the logistical problems grow
Since individual and commuter traffic are increasing sharply, the result is that German cities are not only getting busier and louder, also the health burden on citizens is getting bigger. In this respect, the topic of urban logistics moves in an enormous area of tension. It is imperative to hurry to find suitable solutions for the logistical challenges of the city of tomorrow.
In addition to the increasing individual and commuter traffic, delivery traffic is also growing significantly. This results from a sharp increase in online shopping. E-commerce has been growing for years and this is accompanied by new record values for parcel shipments. From 2000 to 2017, the number of shipments doubled and another particularly sharp rise was due to the global pandemic last year. Supply and delivery traffic are increasing dramatically and cities are becoming ever more crowded. This leads to health impacts from noise, fine dust and nitrogen oxides and the quality of life decreases. Urban logistics moves in an immense field of tension between functionality and sustainable living.
The biggest challenge cities have to face is to find a way to master and improve this challenging situation. It is important to create sustainable plans for the future. To work on this, the BVL set up the urban logistics group in Germany, which is committed to finding solutions that will significantly improve the situation in German cities by 2030.
The different requirements in urban freight transport often lead to conflicts.
The constant availability of goods contrasts with a reduction in the volume of goods traffic. Transport in residential areas should be reduced, but orders should be delivered as soon as possible. If you include the different perspectives in finding a solution, three central fields of action emerge as an idea for a solution approach.
- The logistics infrastructure must become a fundamental part of real estate development. It must be based on population density and secure long-term supply.
- The deliveries must be organized sustainably. This includes freely accessible consolidation centers or hubs and environmentally friendly vehicles that are able to handle the last mile of transport in an environmentally friendly manner.
- The volume of traffic in city centers should be reduced through access requirements and intelligent traffic flow control. The freight traffic is to be divided into different routes, times of day and according to delivery areas.
Cf. Bundesvereinigung Logistik, Urbane Logistik 2018, accessed 22.01.2021
Cf. Bundesvereinigung Logistik, Urbane Logistik Fachartikel, accessed 22.01.2021
Cf. Statista, Urbanisierung in Deutschland, accessed 22.01.2021
Cf. VCÖ Mobilität mit Zukunft, Urbane Logistik: Entlastung der Stadt, accessed 22.01.2021
Cf. LNC LogisticNetwork Consultants GmbH, Urbane Logistik in der Stadt von Morgen, accessed 22.01.2021, URL: https://www.urbanelogistik.de/