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This study investigates how supportive urban freight transport (UFT) policies work in conjunction with stakeholder collaboration to support public-led urban consolidation centre (UCC) developments. The methodology was a multiple case study approach, comparing cases in Sweden and Scotland, two countries that are more/less advanced in their approach to UFT policy. The key finding reveals that while UFT policies such as time window restrictions can support successful UCCs, they cannot be considered in isolation from the collaborative UFT policy setting established by the local authority. A successful development also requires a commitment to financially support the UCC over at least the medium term, allowing time for the system to mature and collaborative service offerings to be developed. The findings of this study can be used by local authorities to establish a supportive UFT policy setting, as well as specifically designing policy packages in conjunction with UCC business models.
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Supporting Urban Consolidation Centres with Urban Freight
Transport Policies: A Comparative Study of Scotland and Sweden
Emine Zehra Akgün1*, Jason Monios2,, Achille Fonzone1
1) Transport Research Institute, Edinburgh Napier University, United Kingdom
Email: ,
2) Kedge Business School, Domaine de Luminy, Rue Antoine Bourdelle, Marseille,
France. Email:
* Corresponding Author
This is the pre-published version of the text. The final published paper can be found at:
Akgün, E. Z., Monios, J., Fonzone, A. (2020). Supporting Urban Consolidation Centres
with Urban Freight Transport Policies: A Comparative Study of Scotland and Sweden.
International Journal of Logistics: Research & Applications. 23 (3): 291-310.
DOI: 10.1080/13675567.2019.1679743
This study investigates how supportive urban freight transport (UFT) policies work
in conjunction with stakeholder collaboration to support public-led urban
consolidation centre (UCC) developments. The methodology was a multiple case
study approach, comparing cases in Sweden and Scotland, two countries that are
more/less advanced in their approach to UFT policy. The key finding reveals that
while UFT policies such as time window restrictions can support successful UCCs,
they cannot be considered in isolation from the collaborative UFT policy setting
established by the local authority. A successful development also requires a
commitment to financially support the UCC over at least the medium term,
allowing time for the system to mature and collaborative service offerings to be
developed. The findings of this study can be used by local authorities to establish
a supportive UFT policy setting, as well as specifically designing policy packages
in conjunction with UCC business models.
Keywords: urban freight transport; logistics; urban consolidation centre; policy;
Urban freight transport (UFT) is an essential function for cities, yet, despite their low
share in total traffic, freight vehicles are one of the major sources of air pollution,
congestion and road casualties in cities (Dablanc 2007). Local authorities seek to address
these problems by applying various policy measures, yet there have been only a few
studies analysing the role of local authorities in UFT. Lindholm (2013) found that UFT
is infrequently included in local transport planning due to its complex nature and it is
more often considered the business of private companies. Lindholm (2013) also argued
that local authorities need a better understanding of policy measures, evaluation,
transferability and stakeholder involvement. Ballantyne, Lindholm and Whiteing (2013)
emphasized the importance of working with a wider range of stakeholders if local
authorities want to become better at planning and executing UFT in the context of their
local transport strategies. Yet public authorities often lack sufficient resources to focus
attention on the dynamics of freight transport, including the requirements and viewpoints
of all stakeholders (Stathopoulos, Valeri, and Marcucci 2012). Lindholm and Blinge
(2014) advised that local authorities need to develop a certain degree of knowledge
concerning UFT and related interest groups; otherwise, local transport policies may
become counterproductive. They further advised that local authorities need to consider
technological and behavioural policy measures together if they want to regulate urban
traffic in the most efficient ways. Akgün et al. (2019) found that most cities tend to choose
their UFT policy measures from a pool of common measures (primarily access
restrictions such as time windows and weight restrictions), but without monitored targets
that determine whether or not they are achieving objectives. Kiba-Janiak (2017)
investigated the level of maturity in planning and implementing UFT strategies in twelve
European capital cities, finding that cities with written UFT plans have the widest range
of UFT projects. The most popular policy measures found were low cost policy measures
such as access restrictions. However, initiatives requiring long term partnerships such as
urban consolidation centres (UCC) were less popular. De Marco, Mangano, and Zenezini
(2018) analysed 70 European cities that have been piloting or implementing UFT policy
measures. Use of low emission vehicles, UCCs and Low Emission Zones were the most
common, implemented in more than 50% of the case cities.
UCCs are logistics facilities that consolidate deliveries into fewer (preferably low
emission) vehicles. Allen et al. (2012) and Allen et al. (2014) listed different types of
UCCs in three major categories; they are (a) the facilities that serve all or part of an urban
area, (b) the facilities that serve large sites with a single landlord such as shopping centres
or airports, and (c) facilities that serve construction sites. Type A and Type B UCCs are
associated with retail products, office products and food supplies, while type C are
designed for handling building materials. Type A UCCs are designed to serve areas where
there are narrow streets, historic layouts and/or lack of loading and unloading bays in
urban areas. These UCCs are often initiated by local authorities and they may receive
various forms of public support (e.g. financial, direct or indirect regulatory support)
(Allen et al. 2014; Lebeau et al. 2017). On the other hand, type B and type C UCCs are
usually initiated by private organizations such as owners/developers of shopping malls
and constructions contractors. They aim to tackle issues related to on-site storage,
retailing space and planning permissions for construction projects.
This study focuses on type A UCCs, which serve all or part of an urban area,
usually associated with retail products. These UCCs are usually initiated by local
authorities to mitigate problems concerning air quality, congestion and road safety
(Browne et al. 2005; Allen et al. 2014), but their implementation requires collaboration
between various stakeholders with different objectives and priorities (Yang and Moodie
2011), which can be summarised as three main groups: local authorities, logistics service
providers (LSPs) and retailers (Harrington et al. 2016). For example, local authorities
want both to support existing businesses and to attract new businesses while at the same
time protecting the environment and quality of life for citizens, while private freight
operators and retailers focus on cost reduction and the reliability and flexibility of their
delivery operations. In order to protect these priorities, they are reluctant to use UCCs.
Several authors have found that the major problem with UCC projects is that their
inability to attract sufficient users limits their financial viability; many have failed either
after public subsidies ended or have been discontinued after feasibility studies (Quak and
Tavasszy 2011; Allen et al. 2012; Kin et al. 2016; Johansson and Björklund 2017; Paddeu
While this growing body of literature reveals that the challenges of UCCs are
fairly well established, only a small amount of work has begun to consider how local
authorities can implement accompanying policy measures in order to encourage the use
of UCCs. A small group of studies has identified the potential measures, the most popular
including direct financial support, tax incentives, favourable measures to UCC operators
(e.g. off-hour deliveries), exemptions from access restrictions (e.g. time and weight
restrictions), and receiver led consolidation in combination with delivery servicing plans
(Panero, Shin, and Lopez 2011; Ville, Gonzalez-Feliu, and Dablanc 2013; Holguín-Veras
et al. 2016; Marcucci and Gatta 2017; Lebeau et al. 2017). Recognising the small amount
of literature on UFT policy and local authorities, as well as the importance of the public-
private collaborative context of UFT, this paper aims to explore not only which policy
measures are most successful but particularly the interrelation between the supportive
measures and the UCC development process. Thus, the research question for this study
is: How do supportive UFT policies work in conjunction with stakeholder collaboration
to support successful public-led UCC developments?
The literature review analyses previous research on both supportive UFT policies
and stakeholder collaboration, as well as the challenges and service profile of UCCs, in
order to provide an analytical framework for analysing the entire collaborative context of
UCC developments. The methodology is based on analysis of two case studies from
Sweden and Scotland. The Swedish case represents an active UCC serving retailers in
Gothenburg. The Scottish case was an unsuccessful attempted UCC project, which aimed
at serving retailers in Perth and Dundee. Including a failed case is less common in case
study research which tends to focus on best practice, thus this comparison can enable us
to view both sides of the situation.
Challenges faced by UCC developments
The biggest challenge facing UCCs is their financially viability (Kin et al. 2016; Janjevic
and Ndiaye 2017). Over the years, freight operators have become particularly successful
at consolidating freight during the earlier phases of their supply chains. Therefore, it is
less attractive when UCCs are added as an extra link in supply chains, leading to increased
set-up and operating costs. As consolidation operations usually take place before freight
vehicles travel to city centres, using UCCs may not obtain any operational and economic
benefits for freight operators (Browne et al. 2005). However, Browne, Allen, and
Leonardi (2011) identified that it is still possible to achieve other benefits for highly
consolidated goods, such as improvements in air quality with the help of electric vehicles
and decreasing the total distance travelled by conventional vehicles. Kin et al. (2016)
argued that the feasibility of UCCs depends on availability of a critical mass and the
conditions in areas that deliveries take place such as restrictions or congested traffic.
Cost is one of the most crucial factors to decide whether customers are willing to
use a UCC or not. Janjevic and Ndiaye (2017) argue that a UCC should be able to decrease
delivery costs through providing gains in terms of distance and time. They identified the
key factors influencing the cost attractiveness of UCCs as the distance to UCCs and
enabling off-hour deliveries, factor and pricing of services, the density of the delivery
zone and the size of cities, and the mode of management. According to Aastrup,
Gammelgaard, and Prockl (2012), customers favour less frequent deliveries as a result of
the agglomeration of parcels.
Another problem that UCCs face is the challenge in establishing a business model
that can balance economic, environmental and operational requirements for different
stakeholders (Quak, Balm, and Posthumus 2014; Nordtømme, Bjerkan, and Sund 2015;
Björklund, Abrahamsson, and Johansson 2017). The lack of an appropriate business
model can also lead to contractual and organizational problems and loss of direct contact
with suppliers and customers (Browne et al. 2005: Allen et al. 2012). Lagorio, Pinto, and
Golini (2016) identified particular reasons why UCC projects fail at different stages of
their implementation, such as discontinued public funds, location (if it is too far from
delivery points) and lack of systems that enable tracking and tracing. The authors also
identified that potential stakeholders hesitate to participate in UCC projects due to
maintenance of customer service levels, security of goods, lack of involvement of
stakeholders in decision-making processes and potential conflicts with local authorities.
Stakeholder collaboration in UCC developments
The involvement of multiple stakeholders is one of the most critical characteristics of
UCCs. Consortia that aim to initiate UCC projects are characterized by complex
relationships between public and private actors over a period of time. Harrington et al.
(2016) identified key considerations and interdependencies to be considered during the
initial development of UCCs. The set of stakeholders consists of three main actors: freight
operators/logistics companies, local businesses and public authorities. Their study shows
that each individual stakeholder seeks for his or her individual objectives and they need
to have a set of common objectives if all stakeholders want to collaborate. In addition,
the timing of stakeholder involvement is crucial, and they should be involved as early as
possible in the development process (Macharis and Verlinde 2012).
Logistics service and transport providers mainly focus on generating revenues,
developing in-house skills, enhancing their brand reputation and using innovative tools
to develop their businesses. Many international corporates such as DHL, Amazon and
UPS focus on developing innovative solutions that will enable them to develop new ways
of providing logistics activities in local settings such as using low emission vehicles,
initiating micro consolidation centres or enabling multimodal transport (Quak 2011;
Ducret 2014). As the final customer of the deliveries from the UCCs, retailers focus on
the factors concerning the quality of the service that they obtain from their transport
suppliers. Therefore, they focus on familiarity, reliability and flexibility in delivery
operation, insurance, parcel aggregation and personal and friendly contact with transport
companies (Harrington et al. 2016).
Public authorities want both to support existing businesses and to attract new
businesses to be located in their cities, which contribute to economic growth (Olsson and
Woxenius 2014; Harrington et al. 2016). At the same time, both national and local
authorities have a responsibility to protect public health and wellbeing and quality of life
in cities, which means they need strategies to reduce emissions and congestion. This is
why UCCs and the use of low emission vehicles are starting to be adopted in some cities
(Browne, Allen, and Leonardi 2011; Paddeu 2017). Many local authorities in Europe have
already included the promotion and the use of low emission vehicles in their planning for
both passenger and freight transport (Muñuzuri et al. 2005; Dablanc 2007).
All the aforementioned stakeholders can develop a common agenda and strive for
the same goals while considering their individual objectives. In this way, stakeholders
can agree upon how they will initiate UCCs, share cost and risk and develop ideas
concerning what other policies and initiatives they need to increase the effectiveness of
UCCs. Van Duin et al. (2018) identified four key elements to stakeholder collaboration
in UFT, which will be used in the analytical framework: the need for public action,
awareness of barriers, building on large players and empowering small players.
Use of supporting policies for UCC developments
Local authorities are beginning to combine the use of UCCs with other type of policies
that offer exemptions and incentives for receivers as well as freight operators, however,
there has been only limited attention to this topic in the literature. Panero, Shin, and Lopez
(2011) examined 39 existing UCCs according to multiple factors such as economic
profile, the nature of goods accepted, areas served, vehicles used, type of leadership,
existence of favorable regulations (or supporting policies), their compulsory or voluntary
nature, and temporary or permanent scope. They pointed out that legislative measures
implemented by local authorities can help the development of UCCs in two ways; either
UCCs can cope better with restrictions if they use appropriate resources (e.g. low
emission vehicles) or restrictions can be lifted for the UCCs’ vehicles. Lebeau et al.
(2017) drew on the work of Panero, Shin, and Lopez (2011), but focused purely on the
role of supportive policies, and expanded the analysis to 61 UCCs. Lebeau et al. (2017)
divided the potential policies into financial support (start-up, structural and indirect),
direct regulatory support (one compulsory UCC, license granted to transporters and
favourable measures to UCC operator) and indirect regulatory support (time windows,
weight restrictions, size restrictions, EURO norms, age of vehicles and urban toll). We
consider the former two categories to relate more to the overall business and financial
model, while the third category relates to supportive transport policies. Both will be
considered in this paper.
It should also be recognised that there is a fine line between encouraging
stakeholders to use UCCs and cooperate during projects and obliging them to use UCC
by implementing other policies. Local authorities should implement policies that will not
result in increasing the cost of transport, which later will be reflected in the costs of
receivers and freight operators (Van Duin et al. 2018). Local authorities need to analyse
cultural, economic and political drivers that affect their choice of policies and their public
acceptability. While local authorities see restrictions (e.g. time window, size) as useful
tools to increase the use of UCCs, freight operators may see such restrictions as an
inefficient way of initiating UCCs. In addition, operators can argue that shippers should
be able to choose how their products will be shipped and they can tailor their operations
according to the market’s demands (Van Duin et al. 2018).
A few authors have examined specific policies in case studies. Marcucci and
Danielis (2008) showed that the share of traffic attracted to a UCC can be increased by
implementing policies such as full public subsidy (29% increase), increasing access fees
to limited traffic zone (27%) and a mix of these policies (as high as 78%). Ville,
Gonzalez-Feliu, and Dablanc (2013) studied a case of a UCC in Vicenza, where the local
authority limited the access to limited traffic zones in order to promote the use of the
UCC. These restrictions imposed by the public authority led freight operators to challenge
this decision in court as they found the restrictions to be barriers to running their
operations effectively under fair conditions. Allen et al. (2014) found that the local
authorities in Bristol granted UCC vehicles access to bus lanes in the trial period of the
scheme, with the aim of shortening delivery times to the shops. Björklund, Abrahamsson,
and Johansson (2017) studied Lucca Port UCC in Italy, where the entrance to the area is
restricted by fees as a part of local traffic regulations. The local authority of Lucca offers
financial incentives to logistics service providers, who want to transfer their deliveries
through the UCC. The authors found that the fees and the incentives were vital for the
long-term commercial viability of the UCC. Marcucci and Gatta (2017) measured the
willingness to accept off-hour deliveries (OHD) in Rome. The authors measured retailers’
responses for assisted OHD, unassisted OHD and the use of OHD in combination with
the use of UCC. Their results showed that the combination of OHD and UCC was the
most preferred method across the retailers.
Service offerings at UCCs
According to Björklund, Abrahamsson, and Johansson (2017), a viable business model
for a UCC should be able to adapt to a dynamic environment and innovate new services
in order to generate more revenue. Business models need to ensure the balanced
distribution of costs and risk among the stakeholders (Johansson and Björklund 2017),
often involving a public subsidy to guarantee that users will not be penalised financially,
at least in the start-up phase (Allen et al. 2014). Each UCC user, whether a logistics
service provider or a retailer, seeks to obtain financial and operational benefits. Benefits
can vary based on the type of users; for instance, logistics service providers could send
fewer vehicles to busy city centres as they subcontract a part of their last mile deliveries
to UCCs. Retailers can benefit from service offerings such as storage and labelling
(Johansson and Björklund 2017). These service offerings can become additional sources
of revenue for UCCs as retailers usually pay for services offered by UCCs. In addition,
the ability of developing service offerings indicates that UCCs are able to develop and
adopt their business models to a dynamic environment, which is characterized by
different expectations and requirements of different stakeholders (Björklund,
Abrahamsson, and Johansson 2017). Existing studies mention a variety of services that
can be offered by UCCs such as providing off-site storage space, pre-retailing activities,
waste management and recycling, e-commerce services, information system enabling
tracking and tracing, and customized delivery days and times for the users (Browne et al.
2005; Johansson and Björklund 2017).
In one of the earlier and the most comprehensive studies of UCCs, Browne et al.
(2005) argued that UCCs help retailers to reduce the need for storage and logistics
activities in their premises by offering storage facilities and pre-retailing services in
advance. Aastrup, Gammelgaard, and Prockl (2012) conducted a case study on retailers
in Copenhagen to investigate third party logistics services in the context of city logistics
and identified that a UCC can offer its receivers the flexibility of influencing delivery
times. Similarly, Paddeu (2017) identified that the most popular UCC services used by
retailers are storage and recycling of packaging, but other benefits of using the UCC
related to being able to set delivery times and ensuring product safety. On the contrary,
Johansson and Björklund (2017) did not identify a need for flexible deliveries and a
demand for handling waste management. The authors also identified that reduced
expenses due to using service offerings do not convince retailers to pay for using UCCs,
and therefore suggested that the first step should be to understand actual logistics needs
of retailers and to identify potential venues that will provide economic advantages when
particular services are outsourced to UCCs. Gammelgaard, Andersen, and Figueroa
(2017) also mentioned the importance of understanding the rationality of retailers’
systems and improving communication of potential service offerings, thus involving
retailers as stakeholders in co-creating value.
According to Yin (2011), a case study methodology is appropriate when researchers want
to define research topics broadly, cover complex multivariate conditions and rely on
multiple sources of evidence. The latter two aims are clearly suited to this paper.
Similarly, case studies enable researchers to make an in-depth exploration of complex
phenomena (Eisenhardt 1989), and in particular qualitative case studies are one of the
most suitable approaches for elaborating an existing theory or building new theory
(Fawcett et al. 2014). Therefore, for this research we adopted a qualitative case study
research methodology. This study adopted a multiple case study design, in which two
UCC projects comprise the units of analysis. The sample selection was based on finding
a more active and a less active country in terms of managing and regulating UFT, thus
one case is from Sweden (Gothenburg) and the other is from Scotland (Perth). The City
of Gothenburg in Sweden has an active UCC while the UCC project in Perth was
terminated just before its trial period started. It is often difficult to identify and gather
data on failed cases thus the Perth case can be equally as instructive as the successful
Gothenburg case.
In order to enable data triangulation, two types of data were collected: secondary
data (project reports, feasibility studies, news articles) and primary data (interviews).
Interviews are an essential source of information in case studies, yet respondents’ answers
might be subject to bias, poor recall or poor articulation. Therefore, data obtained from
interviews were corroborated with additional information from other sources (Yin 2014),
which were obtained through web search and during the interviews.
The collection of primary data was achieved through semi-structured interviews.
The identification of interviewees began with the UCC project initiators and resulted in
finding the operators and users directly involved in the UCC. Finding the stakeholders
for Perth’s UCC was particularly challenging as the UCC was never opened and some of
the stakeholders were no longer accessible. Nevertheless, in both cases we interviewed
the same types of respondents, from initiators, users, government and industry
representatives and independent experts. This range of interviewees thus includes not just
those directly involved in establishing the UCC but key representatives for providing the
wider context. These actors include regional and national government representatives
with responsibility for UFT, independent experts on UFT and UCCs in each country and
additional industry representatives. All these respondents are knowledgeable not only
regarding the general UFT context in the respective city/country but also have knowledge
of the respective UCC projects. Table 1 presents the list of interviewees, their roles within
the UCC projects, their organizations and their positions. A total of 23 interviews, face-
to-face and by telephone, were conducted between April and June 2017. The interview
guide was based on the categories identified in the literature review (and used in the
analysis). The interviews lasted between 30 and 90 minutes. All interviews were recorded
and transcribed.
Following the guidance of da Mota Pedrosa et al. (2012), the analysis of the data
was done in multiple stages. The first step was coding both primary and secondary data
based on the literature categories that formed the basis of the analysis: challenges,
stakeholder collaboration, service offerings and supportive UFT policies. Coded data
were then compared in order to see the similarities and differences across each case study
and then integrated with the theoretical categories. Integration and iteration were executed
in parallel because it was necessary to go back and forth between the data and theoretical
categories in order to verify the validity of identified categories. Refutation was the last
stage of the data analysis and was where the secondary data became particularly
important. The information gathered through document review was used to confirm
statements made by the interviewees. This meant that when analysing the primary data,
the authors occasionally contacted the interviewees to clarify and verify some of the
information. In addition, the initial results of the study were presented at a conference for
further discussion with experts in the area. Data saturation was achieved when no further
gaps remained, and we had obtained sufficient data for each case against each of the four
conceptual categories.
Table 1. List of interviewees for the case studies
Role within the UCC
Position of the
Project initiator
Local authority
Senior transport
Association of real estate
and store owners
Finance and Marketing
Consultant to EU project
Project Manager
UCC operator
Local LSP
First level customer
International LSP
Business Process
Second level customer
Retailer 1
Retailer 2
Retailer 3
Retailer 4
Shop Manager
Government authorities
National Transport
Strategic Planner
Regional Transport
Strategic Planning
Project partners with
UCC operator
Partner of EU project with
the UCC operator
Ex Project Manager
Expert on UFT and
UCCs in this country
Academic expert on UFT
and UCCs in Sweden
Senior Research Fellow
Industry researcher on
UCCs in Sweden
Project Manager
Project initiator
Regional transport
Senior Transport
Initial supporter and
partial funder
Local authority
Senior Transport
Potential first level
customer (LSP)
National LSP
Freight Development
Potential second level
customer (retailer)
Local retailer
Government authorities
National transport authority
Policy Advisor
Industry associations
National industry
association 1
Head of Policy
National industry
association 2
Business Unit Director
Expert on UFT and
UCCs in this country
Academic expert on UFT
and UCCs in the UK
National retailer
National Transport
Strategy Manager
Gothenburg, Sweden
Case background
The UCC is a subproject under the following two projects: Sendsmart funded by a
national funding body between September 2012 and September 2014 and SMARTSET
co-funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe II Programme (IEE II) between May 2013
and April 2016. The aim of the Sendsmart project was to develop sustainable solutions
for freight transport in Gothenburg by enabling (i) collaboration and information sharing
between public and private actors, (ii) using IT and relevant technology to increase road
safety and decrease environmental impact of freight operations and (iii) implementing
policies and incentives for freight consolidation in order to achieve increased fill rates,
reduced congestion and increased coordination (Lindholm 2014). The UCC was involved
in SMARTSET in order to expand freight consolidation in the city and to develop a
financially viable business model, which can be replicable in Gothenburg as well as in
other European cities (Ablasser et al. 2016).
The UCC aims to reduce the amount of freight traffic during peak hours in a
particular geographical area and to decrease the interference between freight vehicles and
pedestrians as well as cyclists. The UCC in Gothenburg plays a crucial role as a platform
that enables collaboration between the local authority, private companies, research
institutes and the association of real estate owners and merchants, called Innerstaden. The
UCC is owned by Innerstaden and operated by a local courier. Innerstaden is a company
owned by the Buyers and Real Estate Owners Association (Köpmannaförbundet och
Fastighetsägarna GFR in Swedish). Two logistics companies are the customers of the
UCC, which send a part of their parcels through the UCC to the final receivers. The UCC
operates for the retailers located in an area called Domkyrkoplan in the inner city of
Gothenburg. The retailers located in this area specialize in clothing, footwear, food (e.g.
restaurants, cafes), grocery and other consumer goods. The UCC provides the delivery
service to the retailers in the area except the ones that are specialized in food and
perishable goods. The UCC uses three electric cars with trailers and two electric cargo
bikes to make its deliveries. They deliver and pick up 500 packages to/from
approximately 200 shops on average every day. The development process of the UCC
consisted of three stages: concept, development and establishment. The concept stage
started in 2012 by establishing a pilot study between 2012 and 2013 with a small number
of shops. At this stage, the UCC was funded by Sendsmart, the local authority and
Innerstaden. The development phase took place between 2014 and 2016. The
stakeholders focused on increasing the number of users and started to develop value-
adding activities during this stage. The local authorities made an agreement with an
international haulier and the national mail service to transport some parts of their
deliveries through the UCC. At the end of this phase, the UCC started to fund itself by
80% and 20% was obtained from the local authority. The UCC obtains its revenue from
its users and from the advertisements that are shown on the vehicles. The establishment
phase started in 2017 as the final stage of the development. The UCC aims to serve all
businesses in the area and they are planning to become a fully commercial business.
The most common challenges were collaboration, finance, delivery schedules and the
lack of technology. Collaboration between the stakeholders was mentioned on multiple
occasions but this emerged once the project was operational. Lack of communication,
engagement with the businesses, establishing a clear structure for sharing costs and
operational risks, and losing the direct contact with the end customer due to using the
UCC are the main points raised by the stakeholders. The stakeholders experienced
financial challenges during both development and operational phases of the project.
Unwillingness to pay for using the UCC, small number of logistics operators using the
UCC, extra costs arising due to extra handling at the UCC and lack of demand are the
main financial challenges that the stakeholders experienced. Even though the owner of
the UCC and the local authority have solved the challenges concerning insufficient
demand gradually, the businesses are hesitant if they would continue using the UCC when
they need to pay for the last mile shipment. Regarding delivery schedules, the businesses
mentioned that either they could not receive their deliveries as early as they used to, or
they do not know when the vehicles will arrive during the day. Moreover, as the number
of users and the volume has increased, tracking and tracing became problematic. The
operator and the local authority stated that the lack of the use of information technology
constrained the ability of obtaining more customers, the latter commenting that: if we
are going to work with more transport operators, we need one system which can handle
different packages from different operators.” Similarly, the operator discussed the
challenge of scanning parcels: First, we started with a single hand scanner for both of
our customers. With one computer, it is very difficult to do that. We are working on now,
but we have not found a solution yet. Now we have one scanner for each customer.” The
lack of information system causes complaints raised by buyers of some online items, as
they cannot track their items, as stated by one retailer: “If we would like to track a parcel,
we put in the tracking number and it looks like it has been delivered but it has been
delivered to the UCC not to us. We cannot track it all the way and our customers cannot
either because they can see it when the parcel only arrives at the facilities of the logistics
service provider.”
Some other challenges were specific to some stakeholders. Some of the businesses
that the UCC serve have high-value products such as high-value accessories. These
businesses are concerned with damages that may occur to their products as a result of
extra handling. They also mentioned that the design of the vehicles should be improved
in order to ensure the protection of the goods. The operator raised the issue that it becomes
problematic to find a suitable place to run their operations as their operational volume
increases. One of the users of the UCC is an international freight operator. They use the
UCC for a part of their deliveries, and they want to increase the volume of the goods
shipped through the UCC; however, the small scale of the operator was a constraint. The
scale of the operator and the profiles of the users and the customers do not lead to
implementing value-adding operations in order to generate revenue. The local authority
also mentioned the lack of more value-added activities as a challenge to further growth.
Stakeholder collaboration
While some collaboration challenges emerged later, in fact collaboration played a positive
role during the development of the UCC, in which the local authority provided supportive
policies as well as financial subsidy. The interviewee from the local authority mentioned
that they aim to become a role model to incentivize more sustainable solutions by other
freight operator and businesses in the city: We, as the local authority, want logistics
service providers operating in the city to come with two principles; first, it should be
clean vehicles of course preferably electric ones and we want them to provide
consolidation services that it is possible for other transport companies to use.” The local
authority also considers building knowledge about freight and its impacts on the economy
as well as the environment can be realized through collaboration with other public and
private stakeholders. Therefore, the local authority prioritizes involvement in national and
international projects.
The UCC started in the context of a project funded by a national authority, which
initiated a platform for the stakeholders to work together. The local authority focused on
some of the big logistics companies instead of individual businesses with lower volumes
to establish their customer base. This large LSP provided the required amount of freight
to start operations. In order to communicate with the businesses in the area, the project
involved the association of real estate owners and businesses, which had a key role to
include the shops located in the area in the UCC. Another strong aspect of the UCC was
to involve a local transport company, which is familiar with the city, the aforementioned
area and the types of businesses. Later, the local authority provided its support for the
UCC by implementing supportive policies, in particular exempting UCC users in some
cases from many of the existing transport policies in the area, such as pedestrianized
areas, walking speed zones, time window restrictions and weight restrictions. The electric
vehicles and the bikes used by the UCC are exempt from all the restrictions. The
stakeholders continue to work together to help the UCC to become a fully commercial
Supporting policies
Time window restrictions (combined with weight restrictions) are in place in the area that
the UCC serves and most of the area is pedestrianized. Walking speed zones (where
vehicles must drive at walking speed) are in action in parts of the area that are not
pedestrianized. The operator mentioned that these restrictions helped them to increase the
use of the UCC as the vehicles used by the UCC are exempt from some of the restrictions
in the area such as time window restrictions as well as the weight restrictions. However,
one of the users of the UCC mentioned that even though they ship part of their goods
through the UCC, they still need to visit certain areas in the city to deliver palletized or
heavy items and the current time window and weight related restrictions constrain these
operations. There are contradicting responses across the stakeholders for the policies that
should be implemented in the near future. One of the interviewees mentioned that heavy
goods vehicles should be allowed on the roads during off-peak hours for better capacity
utilization. The same interviewee also mentioned that the local authorities should start
certification programs instead of implementing restrictions for particular vehicles. On the
other hand, the municipality mentioned that time windows for heavy goods vehicles and
light goods vehicles should be extended in order to reduce congestion and provide more
space for other road users. Some of the businesses were concerned with congestion
problems in the areas where freight vehicles are allowed to enter and according to one of
the businesses, there is a need for parking regulations in order to avoid congestion.
Service offerings
Businesses involved in e-commerce mentioned that flexibility in deliveries and pick-ups
provided strong motivations to keep working with the UCC, although one business
complained that deliveries to their store were not as well planned as before. The
stakeholders also mentioned the importance of using electric vehicles as it provides
environmental benefits by reducing emissions.
Perth, Scotland
Case background
The project initially focused on implementing a consolidation centre to serve two Scottish
cities in close proximity, Perth and Dundee. In both cities, improving the air quality was
the primary driver for the project. Dundee opted out of the project after they revised their
policy plans concerning air quality and freight. The idea of the consolidation centre in
Perth was driven also by the need for reducing congestion and enhancing road safety. The
project started as a result of the Air Quality Grant that Perth & Kinross City Council
obtained in 2010. The city council in Perth started to take actions to mitigate the problems
concerning the air quality first by declaring Air Quality Management Areas in Perth. Later
the city council developed an action plan to mitigate the air quality related problems. One
of the actions was to investigate potential policies to achieve the objectives of the plan.
The consultation process identified a UCC as the most favourable solution. However, the
city council did not have the expertise to work on freight consolidation and brought the
regional transport partnership (TACTRAN) on board to do the further investigations. At
the same time, the city council hired consultants funded by the grant obtained from the
Scottish government. The consultants helped TACTRAN to collect information about the
retailers in the area and to complete traffic modelling in order to see the outcome of
consolidation activities and low emission vehicles (TACTRAN 2010).
Based on the findings from a survey of retailers, TACTRAN and the city council
decided that the UCC needed to target small and medium sized retailers, which receive a
larger number of small deliveries. They wanted to consider only non-perishable goods,
because they do not require specific infrastructure and systems in the UCC. Value-added
services such as waste collection, off-site storage and pre-retailing services were also
considered to create revenue streams for the UCC. A single retailer in Perth and Dundee
was receiving 5.5 and 4.5 deliveries per week respectively. Based on the number of
retailers and the average weekly deliveries, the models estimated that 24 vehicles would
use the UCC against 96 vehicles delivering directly to retailers in Perth, with Dundee
deliveries showing 28 UCC deliveries and 132 direct to customers. In Perth, 24 vehicles
would be replaced by a single electric vehicle, which would make 3 rounds of deliveries.
In Dundee, 28 vehicles would be replaced by a single electric vehicle, which would make
4 rounds of deliveries.
TACTRAN started the tendering process after traffic models showed positive
effects of the UCC such as 19% overall emissions reduction through the use of electric
vehicles. The city council prepared the contracts for the tendering process. Two logistics
companies initially showed interest in operating the UCC but later withdrew because they
found the project not feasible. The tendering processes was then terminated.
In the very beginning, the public stakeholders did not intend to provide public
subsidies at any stage of the development. However, they changed their strategy after the
failed tendering process. Shortly after, TACTRAN was involved in an EU project called
LaMilo in 2014 and TACTRAN decided to fund the UCC project for 18 months during
its trial period through the project and the Air Quality Grant. During the trial, retailers
could have joined the scheme without paying fees. The management and the UCC was
planned to be assigned to a single logistics operator and the potential operator would pay
some of the costs (i.e. building, rent and workforce). Electric vehicles were also
considered to operate between the UCC and the delivery points. After the UCC was
included in LaMilo, TACTRAN organized events to attract the attention of the retailers
and the businesses in town. However, there was no interest from the private sector. Later,
a real estate company offered a social enterprise model, where the UCC would be used to
consolidate and distribute the city council’s stationery items in Dundee using electric
vehicles. According to the principles of the social enterprise model, the revenue should
be paid back to the community. Eventually this project was also terminated due to
problems with the stationery suppliers, their existing contracts and the lack of support
from the local authority in Dundee.
The biggest challenge was the lack of interest from a suitable logistics operator to run the
UCC caused by financial constraints and the lack of collaboration among stakeholders.
The financial constraints were the lack of customer base, the cost of adding one more
segment to supply chains, and the cost of extra handling for goods that are already
consolidated. Thus, without subsidy, the project could not provide an advantageous
pricing scheme to establish a sufficient customer base. As a part of the project, the
stakeholders tried to establish a business model and then identify a private freight
operator, which would undertake the required investments and receive the revenue.
However, the planned business model was not able to clarify key elements such as the
particular property for locating the UCC, the ownership and the use of low emission
Political barriers were another significant challenge. The project could not obtain
financial support from public authorities such as the local authority and the national
government because freight transport and related air quality concerns were not high on
national and local agendas at the time when the project was on the table. The local
authority mentioned that “I think things are changing with regards to the air quality side
of things. People are starting to take on board that air quality has health hazards; it is a
major problem within our cities. I think this is one of the main points that air quality was
not in the political agenda as it is now in the last couple of years.”
In terms of collaboration, the regional transport partnership TACTRAN was the
main driving force behind the project with some help from the local authority during
earlier stages of the development. Despite the initiatives to bring potential users to the
table at earlier stages, the lack of contact with local businesses was an ongoing challenge
that ultimately could not produce a customer base.
Stakeholder collaboration
Collaboration was one of the missing links in this UCC project. TACTRAN attempted at
various times to trigger collaboration in the project through different channels, such as
including it in an EU project. However, the potential freight operator ended their
agreement before the trial started. Some of the stakeholders stressed the importance of
collaborating with local businesses, which were mostly small and medium enterprises:
“retailers that are receiving limited number of deliveries per day through the parcels
delivery system were what we were aiming at.” Some potential users were actually
concerned about the development, one logistics provider commenting: I do not know if
I would like to be involved actually. I would say if there was a consolidation centre it’s
probably more likely take business away from my business here unless actually, I was
physically involved with it in terms of investment or moved my business to the
consolidation centre.
After the unsuccessful tendering process, TACTRAN had various attempts in
order to continue with the implementation of the project. The UCC project has become
the part of the EU projects and TACTRAN wanted to initiate the involvement of various
stakeholders through this project but there was no interest from the private actors
including the retailers and the businesses. The social enterprise project had to end due to
the lack of support and the collaboration from the local authorities in Dundee.
Supporting policies
Transport policies at the local, regional and national levels have a limited scope
concerning UFT in Scotland. National level documents have provided the information
concerning general freight issues. The local authorities in Perth and Dundee have
objectives to improve the efficiency of freight transport systems in their cities. However,
there is a lack of understanding of UFT issues among local planners (TACTRAN, 2010).
In addition, the Regional Transport Strategy included some recommendations concerning
how to develop UFT in the cities such as establishing a freight quality partnership and
identifying cost effective freight policies. Moreover, when TACTRAN changed the scope
of the project from being a commercial UCC to being a social enterprise, which was
supposed to work for the public goods deliveries for Dundee’s city council, the role of
public authorities had the opposite effect during the development stage. The city council
in Dundee did not support the project due to financial constraints.
The interviewees representing freight operators and retailers mentioned that the
local authority should remove the ban on night time deliveries and enable freight
operators to retime their deliveries during off-peak hours or during the night. They also
complained that existing parking enforcements compromise loading and unloading bays
when non-freight vehicles park on them illegally, and that additionally they would like
more designated bays. The majority of private actors do not favour policies that
implement restrictions and pricing schemes (e.g. congestion charge). TACTRAN and the
local authority recommended some policies which they hoped might incentivize users
and freight operators to utilize the UCC, such as the development of delivery and service
plans, parking privileges for electric vehicles and enabling off-peak deliveries. The
feasibility report also explicitly raised the possibility of considering options such as
tighter restrictions with respect to time, size and route, exemptions from restrictions for
certain delivery vehicles, promoting fleer recognition schemes and reduced business rates
(local tax for businesses) for potential users of the UCC (TACTRAN 2010).
Service offerings
TACTRAN focused on a UCC concept that would cover the deliveries for local retailers,
mainly the ones which sell non-perishable goods. During feasibility studies (TACTRAN,
2010), TACTRAN drew attention to the importance of offering additional services in
order to provide additional revenues, which could help the UCC to become financially
viable as quick as possible. The feasibility report proposed service offerings that would
be particularly useful for retailers such as collection of waste and recyclable materials,
pre-retailing services (e.g. tagging, barcoding, preparing items for display) and providing
storage space. The discussions about the service offerings were not taken further as the
project terminated at an early stage. If the project had gone ahead, it was planned to use
electric vehicles for deliveries, which would have been another potentially attractive
Table 2 summarizes the main findings of the study. The following sub-sections will
briefly highlight the key findings in the cross-case analysis and the discussion section will
discuss them in the context of previous research.
Table 2. Summary of the main findings from each case study
Challenges identified in the
(Browne et al. 2005 ; Allen et al.
2014 ; Kin et al. 2016;
Johansson and Björklund 2017;
Lagorio, Pinto, and Golini 2016)
Financial viability
Yes (only during operational
rather than development phase)
Lack of collaboration
Yes (only during operational
rather than development phase)
Lack of political support
Location and infrastructure
Yes (only during operational
rather than development phase)
Stakeholder collaboration factors
identified in the cases
(Van Duin et al. 2018)
Need for public action
Awareness of barriers
Build on large players
No (attempted but
not achieved)
Empower small players
Service offerings from each
(Browne, Allen and Leonardi
2011; Paddeu 2017; Johansson
and Björklund 2017; Björklund,
Abrahamsson, and Johansson
2017; Gammelgaard, Andersen,
and Figueroa 2017)
Electric vehicles
Yes (intended)
Additional stockholding
Yes (intended)
Pre-retailing services
Yes (intended)
Waste management & recycling
Yes (intended)
E-commerce services
Using vehicles as the venue for
Information system enabling
tracking and tracing
Yes (not currently but in progress)
Customized delivery times and
Yes (but only for some deliveries,
not all)
policies applied
in each case
(Panero, Shin,
and Lopez 2011;
Lebeau et al.
No (attempted but
not achieved)
One compulsory UCC
License granted to transporters
Favourable measures to UCC
operator (including off-peak
Yes (intended)
Time windows
Weight restrictions
Size restrictions
EURO vehicle norms
Age of the vehicles
Urban toll
Notes: The Perth case was never operational, so the service offerings and supportive policies listed
are those that were intended.
The Perth case experienced the major challenges of finance, collaboration and location
early, which is why it was unsuccessful, whereas these were raised only later during the
operational phase of the Gothenburg case. It overcame these challenges in the
development phase through start-up funding and an ongoing collaboration, but once the
UCC was operational, maintaining funding became harder. In addition, the location
became less attractive due to changing demand and operational challenges. A more
complex supply chain weakened the collaboration in which the retailer, the operator and
the local authority occasionally experienced problems in communication.
The operational challenges are important to highlight as they are the cause of the
reluctance of LSPs to use UCCs and lead to the need for collaboration, service offerings
and supportive policies discussed in the next sections. Extra handling at the UCC was
considered a challenge by the LSPs outsourcing their last mile deliveries to the UCC,
firstly because of the obvious fact of needing to pay to the UCC for each package that the
UCC delivers: “We know that if you handle goods or parcels one more time, it will cost
some money . . . but sometimes if you want to develop things you need to invest.” Another
important issue was losing direct contact with customers, which can affect the service
levels of LSPs, as they will lose control over the quality and timeliness of deliveries. The
operator commented: We have some service problems with some of the receivers. . . .
Earlier you were A and received your product at 10 am but now you are B receiving
products at 2 pm and that is not positive for the company.”
The Gothenburg UCC was able to provide some operational benefits by
decreasing the number of vehicles that providers were sending to the area as they make
their deliveries to the UCC using bigger trucks instead of sending multiple smaller trucks
to the area, where time window and weight restrictions are in place.
Stakeholder collaboration
In both cases, the projects were initiated by local authorities, which obtained some
funding from national and international sources, and then identified the potential
stakeholders for the UCC. Yet the role of collaboration was quite different between the
case studies. The lack of collaboration is one of the primary reasons why the UCC in
Perth was terminated. The project went through stages where different business models
were discussed but they did not develop further as each model lacked support from each
of the three stakeholder groups, but particularly from LSPs. In contrast, the Gothenburg
case showed evidence of all of the four collaboration factors. The local authority initiated
the proposal and then approached local businesses in order to discuss the potential barriers
that the project may encounter and the particular requirements of these businesses. The
project developers negotiated with large logistics service providers to become users of
the UCC. Finally, the local authority approached a small sized local courier to hire them
as the operator of the UCC. In this way, the local authority has created a job opportunity
for a small-scale business, which does have experience in working with the local
businesses and is familiar with the area. The UCC in Perth began with public action but
did not display sufficient awareness of the barriers to using a UCC and thus was not able
to attract either users or an operator. After the project was terminated, the public
authorities in Perth highlighted the importance of establishing collaboration with local
logistics service providers instead of large national and international companies while
searching for an operator for the UCC.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that, even in the successful case, in fact the
private operators (the users) were not initially eager to join the project. The involvement
of the public sector was particularly influential by providing financial support and
enforcing particular restrictions in the areas, and also the evolution of the local transport
policies after the implementation of the UCC. Thus, the evolution of UFT policy worked
in conjunction with the stakeholder collaboration. On the other hand, in the Perth case the
public stakeholder was unable to attract interest on behalf of the private sector, which
could be partly because of their lack of introducing supportive policies but also due to
limited collaboration between the public and private stakeholders when it comes to
dealing with UFT related issues in Scotland. The comment quoted earlier from a Scottish
LSP which viewed the UCC as a potential threat gives on indication of this challenge.
Supporting policies
The table shows some clear differences between the successful and unsuccessful case.
Clearly the start-up finance was absolutely essential, reflecting the challenges of
attracting paying users. To avoid increasing costs for users and to attract an operator, the
Swedish project was subsidized by public money beginning from the early stages of the
project and the support was decreased gradually as the UCC started to generate revenues.
However, the UCC will continue to receive structural subsidy until it becomes a fully
commercial business. Indirect financial support was available in Perth via an EU-funded
research project that paid for the feasibility studies. Direct regulatory support was
provided (or planned) in both cases via favourable measures to the UCC operator.
Another key difference was in the indirect regulatory support, which is where the list of
supportive or other UFT policies can be used in conjunction with the UFT. The UCC in
Perth focused on the “carrot” of attracting paying customers but without the “stick” of
restrictive UFT policies that would effectively force them to use the UCC to avoid them.
This was partly due to political challenges: it is just very difficult to get the politicians
to support it and local newspapers will latch on something like that and make a big story
out of that which says council is trying to impose restrictions.”
It must be remembered that such restrictions are not necessarily directly for the
UCC but are sometimes put in place regardless. In the Gothenburg case, the local
authority implemented time window restrictions around Domkyrkoplan before the UCC
has been established. The purpose of the restrictions was not to support the UCC directly
but to create a pedestrianized area to increase the road safety mainly for pedestrians. After
the UCC started to operate, the local authority granted access permissions for electric
vehicles and bikes at any time of the day (i.e. favourable measures to the operators). Later,
the local authority continued to implement other policies in combination with time
restrictions. Since February 2017, weight restrictions are in place, where vehicles above
3.5 tonnes are only allowed to enter the area until 10 am. The municipality aims to
increase the number of policies gradually until they minimize the number of personal and
commercial vehicles in the area. The local authority in Gothenburg also implemented
environmental zones (i.e. controlling age of the vehicles) and congestion charge (i.e.
urban toll) to regulate the flow of general traffic, which may indirectly encourage freight
companies and receivers to use the UCC. So, in this case it is the fact that the local
authority in Gothenburg is proactive about reducing traffic in the city centre that created
an environment where the UCC could be attractive, whereas UFT has a lower priority in
public policy in Scotland generally and so in Perth such policies would have had to be
newly implemented. This supports the importance of understand the public authority role
and linking the wider UFT policy setting with the individual UCC development.
Service offerings
Both UCCs offered (or planned) the use of electric vehicles and cargo bikes, but, while
the unsuccessful Perth case planned traditional stockholding and pre-retailing services,
the Gothenburg case did not find interest from users in these services. This is because
their customers are the logistics service providers rather than the receiving retailers.
Instead they looked towards the use of IT, offering e-commerce now and developing
tracking and tracing. The latter is particularly important because otherwise the retailers
cannot track their goods after they are delivered at the UCC because they are no longer
in the system of the logistics provider. Here the different information systems used by
operators was a challenge, as noted by the UCC operator in the case study description
above. They were able to raise revenue from using vehicles as the venue for
While the challenges of UCCs were not the main focus of this study but rather a
contextual factor in our overall analysis of the policy issues, we can identify the main
challenges in our two cases. These were financial viability, need for political support and
operational obstacles (e.g. lack of delivery schedules, lack of information system
infrastructure, losing first contact with the customers), the latter clearly affecting
primarily the logistics service providers rather than the other two stakeholder groups.
Financial viability is the obvious challenge, due to a lack of customer base and usually
requires political support via public subsidy to overcome, as also found by several
previous authors (e.g. Browne et al. 2005; Quak, Balm, and Posthumus 2014; Björklund,
Abrahamsson, and Johansson 2017; Johansson and Björklund 2017; Kin et al. 2016). But
this challenge arises in effect from the operational challenges that deter users. One of the
key themes in the interviews was that logistics service providers currently serving their
customers directly are reluctant to pay for the additional cost caused by adding another
link to their supply chains (as also found by Allen et al. 2014; Quak, Balm, and Posthumus
2014). In addition to the pure cost issue, the logistics service providers do not want to
lose the direct contact with their customers (as also found by Allen et al. 2014).
It is crucial for public-led projects to identify a potential operator and potential
users for the UCC and ensure that they will not be financially penalised for using it,
usually requiring public subsidy, which confirms the findings of Lagorio, Pinto, and
Golini (2016). The public stakeholders should be able to show logistics service providers
that they can obtain operational benefits by outsourcing their last mile deliveries, if they
want to attract more users (Quak, Balm, and Posthumus 2014). In fact, the saving of
transport costs by the logistics service provider in the Gothenburg case through using
larger vehicles to deliver to the UCC confirms the argument of Janjevic and Ndiaye
(2017) that a UCC should be able to decrease delivery costs through providing gains in
terms of distance and time.
The second category of findings relates to stakeholder collaboration. According
to Björklund and Johansson (2018), even though stakeholder collaboration is often
mentioned in the literature, none of the studied articles went into detail describing this
collaboration. Managing a large number of stakeholders with different goals, costs, and
benefits of using a UCC is a challenging task. To what extent poor collaboration between
stakeholders is a reason behind frequent failures of UCCs is an important question yet to
be addressed. In order to fully analyse the position of each stakeholder group, a larger
quantity of data would be needed through a large-scale survey of each group (e.g.
Marcucci and Gatta, 2017, on retailers). Nevertheless, some conclusions can be drawn
from this study regarding the perspectives of each group and their collaboration.
According to Harrington et al. (2016), the three main stakeholder groups are local
authorities, logistics service providers, and retailers, all three of which were interviewed
for this study. The different perspective of each group was clear and aligned between both
cases. The local authorities want to support business but equally recognise the growing
need to be more proactive in achieving lower emissions in the city centre. Retailers do
not have a strong opinion and simply want to continue receiving the same service they
currently enjoy. LSPs would ideally prefer to be left alone by public actors, but the
Swedish case showed that over time, through ongoing collaboration and to some extent
the co-creation of UFT policies, they can accept the need to be involved.
While the final customer of the delivery services is the local retailers, in fact they
appear to have little concern about using UCCs as there is little discernible impact from
their perspective. It is in fact the logistics service providers who are the real users of the
UCC. It is their business model being changed, their deliveries complicated, and they
have to pay the UCC fees. This is an important finding that tends to be overlooked. The
successful case showed that service offerings can be attractive but only once they are
already using the UCC the offerings themselves do not incentivize the use. This is where
the public authority perspective as discussed in this paper is crucial, which has been
under-researched in relation to UCCs, and only little addressed in terms of UFT in general
(Akgün et al., 2019).
Van Duin et al. (2010) identified two major difficulties with the implementation
of UCCs: the allocation of the costs and benefits and the willingness to cooperate of the
transportation companies. They argue that, while retailers and transport companies obtain
certain benefits from using services provided by a UCC, operators of UCCs incur costs
of operating UCCs, thus local authorities should play a role in bringing the costs and
benefits together. The conclusion from our cases is that the local authority must provide
strong support, by subsidizing the start-up phase so there are no additional costs to the
transport providers, and also to some degree forcing them to use it by applying traffic
restrictions that are then lifted for UCC users. This lead by the public actors confirms
previous studies that continue to show a reluctance from the private sector to develop
UCCs (Browne et al. 2005; Van Duin, Quak, and Muñuzuri 2010; Van Duin et al. 2018).
This could also indicate a need for better guidelines on the national and the local levels
in order to increase the understanding of urban freight, as argued by Gammelgaard,
Andersen, and Figueroa (2017). Applying the framework of four elements of good UCC
collaboration identified by Van Duin et al. (2018) clearly showed that the successful UCC
applied all four elements whereas the unsuccessful case failed to build on large players
or empower small players. These factors relate to the UCC development process, but the
findings emerging in this research underline the need for this process to build on a
previous foundation of public-private collaboration and a supportive UFT policy setting,
as discussed later in this section.
The third category as well as the main focus of this study is the role of supportive
policies that affect the viability of UCC projects. The start-up and structural finance were
absolutely essential to the successful case, supported by favourable measures to the UCC
operator. In terms of the more recognisable UFT policies that supported the UCC (termed
“indirect regulatory support” by Lebeau et al. 2017), the findings confirm the previous
research, showing that all but one was applied. According to interviewees, the most
effective policy was to lift the existing time window restrictions for the users of the UCC.
According to Björklund, Abrahamsson, and Johansson (2017), ongoing
collaboration between the local authority and industry can establish a growing evidence
base which helps local authorities identify how existing policies can support the use of a
new UCC and how these policies should be altered or improved over time based on the
demand for transport and related value-added activities in areas served by UCCs.
Compared to previous studies, the successful Gothenburg case in this paper showed the
importance of having policies in place for some time before implementing the UCC. The
Vicenza case studied by Ville, Gonzalez-Feliu, and Dablanc (2013) revealed a legal battle
between the local authority and the association of freight transport carriers, whereas in
Gothenburg the local businesses and logistics services providers were already familiar
with operating under restrictive measures, as time window restrictions, weight
restrictions, urban tolls, and age restrictions for vehicles had been in place before
implementing the UCC scheme. While on one hand, these “supportive” policies could
perhaps more realistically be considered as ways to force operators to use the UCC, in
fact in the case of Gothenburg they were already in place to reduce traffic in the centre
rather than being implemented specifically to support the UCC. This finding supports the
importance of understanding the public authority role and linking the wider UFT policy
setting with the individual UCC development which has been under researched thus far.
The final category of findings consists of service offerings that UCCs can provide
to be more attractive or raise additional revenue. Value-added services and the use of
electric vehicles are widely discussed in the existing literature such as pre-retailing
services, waste management, e-commerce services and stockholding (Browne, Allen, and
Leonardi 2011; Johansson and Björklund 2017; Paddeu 2017). The UCC in Gothenburg
offered electric vehicles and e-commerce services and later developed another revenue
stream via using their electric vehicles for advertising. The Perth UCC was also planning
electric vehicles as well as the more traditional stockholding and pre-retailing services.
One important finding was that different IT systems used by different logistics providers
makes it difficult for the UCC to develop a single system for handling all of them and
providing visibility to the end customer waiting for deliveries, which illustrates the
contention of Björklund, Abrahamsson, and Johansson (2017) that utilizing the
advantage of IT systems in designing and developing city logistics initiatives is one of
the critical factors for building viable business models.
The key finding from this study is that supporting policies for UCCs cannot be considered
in isolation from the UFT policy setting established by the local authority. While local
transport policies such as time window restrictions in the city centre can support
successful UCCs, they work best not as new policy measures but when put in place
already by a proactive local authority. Stakeholder collaboration is the other key aspect
that supports the implementation of UFT policies for UCCs. While public authorities and
private companies often have different perspectives, it is possible to develop successful
projects together when they are aware of the potential consequences as well as benefits
of UFT policies. Crucially, stakeholder collaboration should evolve over time for
successful implementation of UCCs. Thus, improving the general UFT policy setting by
the local authority and particularly the collaboration between the public and private
sectors are essential steps that should be taken before attempting such an undertaking.
Once this improved environment and more active management of UFT is in place, a UCC
development may be contemplated.
While our study showed that policies did make the UCC more attractive, even the
best policies would not have been sufficient to establish the UCC without the start-up
subsidy and the understanding of UFT developed by the public authorities over some
years. Björklund, Abrahamsson, and Johansson (2017) state that a UCC business model
should include the ability to scale up and continuously develop the system, the ability to
identify key roles and supporting organisational forms and the ability to innovate new
services, all of which were identified in the successful Gothenburg case. So, it is not just
individual services, but the business model considered as a whole that is key.
While case study research always faces some limitations in terms of
generalisability, previous case studies discussed in the literature review demonstrate their
importance in understanding the challenges in UCC development, especially from a
qualitative perspective, such as reluctance from users and interaction between public
bodies and industry. While different types of UCCs exist (e.g. market size, distance,
customer type, public or private), the two cases selected for this research were purposely
selected as similar, both led by public authorities, aimed at serving retailers in
pedestrianised zones where time windows restrictions are implemented. Confidence in
generalisability depends on the rigour of the methodology, including the traceability of
the research process, which, from the formulation of problems to the dissemination of
results should as far as possible be accountable and traceable by readers (da Mota Pedrosa
et al., 2012). As described in the methodology section, this traceability was ensured by
documenting the research process and the data sources, the selection of cases, informants
and data collection techniques, which can enable the reproducibility of the research
process by other researchers. In terms of findings, the main factors impacting the different
results for each case were not to do with the practical aspects of market or distance but
were related to policy and stakeholder collaboration, and it is these findings as regards
the policy environment that can be generalizable from city to city. However, this study
comes with certain limitations such as number and characteristics of the cases. First, this
study focuses on two cases. If the number of the cases were increased, this would improve
the generalisability of the results. Second, this study only focuses on public-led UCCs.
However, the dynamics of stakeholder collaboration and the type of policies that
appropriately support the development of UCC projects may be different for private-led
This study contributes to existing knowledge by demonstrating the importance of
understanding the divergent perspective of all stakeholders, notably the concerns of
logistics providers losing direct control of their last mile solutions, and the importance of
the public authority building a collaborative UFT policy environment before attempting
a UCC development. Crucially, this involves designing supportive policies for the city in
general and not just for the UCC, but also committing to financially support the UCC
over at least the medium term, allowing time for the system to mature and collaborative
service offerings to be developed.
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... With the support of city administration, a UCC is set up with compulsory entry, otherwise the carrier will not be able to enter the city. The authors of articles [44,79,82,85] argue that-whether forced or voluntary-its success cannot be guaranteed without the financial support of the public administration. ...
... Reference [83] demonstrates that a consolidator is essential for the operation of a UCC, thus demonstrating the beneficial effect of a UCC with a consolidator in balancing delivery capacity in a comparative analysis. In addition, UCCs are models in which multi-stakeholder collaboration is desirable [79]. Fundamentally, multi-stakeholder collaboration is the most critical feature of UCCs. ...
Full-text available
The scientific community has been addressing the topic of last-mile delivery for years. To improve parcel delivery efficiency, a variety of different technologies have been created. Over the past 15 years, the focus has shifted from the operational efficiency of the individual organization to restoring sustainability and making cities more livable. As a result of the increased environmental burden, governments are enacting a growing number of restrictive measures, which will intensify economic challenges. To remain competitive, more cost-effective solutions are required. The goal of this article is to examine the significance of collaboration between CEP partners based on scientific interest, with the help of a systematic literature review. This examination is important since, despite the fact that working together with other service providers and competitors could be a favorable option for last mile suppliers looking to improve their efficiency, results show little interest in this approach. Although this strategy appears straightforward due to the potential financial and environmental benefits, there are only a few examples of collaboration in the field of last mile parcel delivery according to the results of the review. Since cooperation seems to be an inevitable operating model of the CEP market in the future, it is of utmost importance for scientific research to investigate the factors hindering the development of cooperation.
... Deng et al. (2020) suggested that a consolidator is required for the operation of a UCC, proving the advantageous effect of a UCC with a consolidator in balancing delivery capacity in a comparative analysis. UCCs are also models that encourage multi-stakeholder collaboration (Akgün et al., 2019). Arguably, the most important element of UCCs is multi-stakeholder engagement. ...
... A UCC will be established with the help of the local administration, and entry will be "compulsory" if the carrier wishes to enter the city. Gonzalez-Feliu et al. (2018), Akgün et al. (2019), and Aljohani and Thompson (2021) contend that the UCC's performance cannot be assured without the financial backing of the public administration, whether compulsory or voluntary. ...
Conference Paper
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International hotel industry has been playing a dominant role in developing country. Although the rate of female population in international hospitality industry is considerably low, several women workforces in such industry are increasing. However, women working in this international hospitality industry face many obstacles due to misperception about women workforce. As a result, this empirical research studies how organizational culture plays a powerful role in multinational workplace and its importance in determining the relationship between the organizational culture and the perception of overall workers in term of women workforce in international five-star hotels in Turkey. Regarding methodology, to assess research validity and to measure demographic and women workforce perception scale, authors took the scale from Trauth et al. (2004) and Öneren et al. (2014), since it had been used in Turkish context. For measuring organizational culture, authors took Corporate Value Scale by Cameron & Quinn (2006), consists of 20 questionnaire items measuring four types of organizational culture. The survey took place in Istanbul where there are five-star hotels, which most of them are well-known international hotel chains. The self-administrative questionnaires were distributed to the hotel staffs. Finally, authors provide the research findings and finalize with the conclusion of the research.
... In and around urban areas, we also see collaborative (or open or consolidated) systems and shared infrastructure (by different operators) appearing. In order to enable zero emission as well as more efficient urban logistics, the potential of open rather than closed networks with cross-dock facilitiesopen to any useris addressed (Akgün, Monios, and Fonzone 2020;Björklund and Johansson 2018;Prandtstetter et al. 2021). Finally, public space dedicated to logistics such as (un)load zone provision, use of (private) parking lots and shared drop zones can also be considered as logistics facilities (Allen et al. 2018;Holguin-Veras et al. 2021;Meza-Peralta et al. 2020). ...
Cities all over the world are rethinking their mobility policies in light of environmental and quality of life objectives. As space is one of cities’ scarcest resources, mobility’s spatial footprint is increasingly scrutinized as externality to mitigate. Similar to passenger transport, goods transport is envisioned to shift towards efficient and zero emission mobilities. To achieve an urban logistics system that eliminates inefficiencies and fossil fuels, the logistics sector requires space to unload, cross-dock, consolidate and stock goods closer to their destinations. Such a ‘proximity logistics’ is however at odds with ‘logistics sprawl’, the historic outward migration pattern of logistics facilities. With policies and planning, cities can support the (re)integration of logistics facilities in urban areas to facilitate and enable the shift to an efficient urban logistics system. Logistics still being a largely neglected policy subject in many cities, knowledge on how to approach this (re)integration is hardly available. Therefore, we compare two pioneering cities: Rotterdam and Paris. Both cities have an established track record in advancing urban logistics policies and are spearheading the practice of planning for logistics. Based on interviews and policy analyses, we develop best practices on how to address the integration of urban logistics facilities for cities.
... This distinction is important as both have different possibilities to make a transition towards low carbon transport, and eventually decarbonisation (Hickman et al., 2011;Macharis and Kin, 2017). For city logistics, both electrification of current vehicles and consolidation in different types of hubs are widely addressed (Akgün et al., 2020;Scorrano et al., 2021). More recently, innovative, and more tailored vehicles for small deliveries receive more attention. ...
Conference Paper
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Shared logistics (SL) is an increasingly critical solution to the challenges of urban logistics, particularly in the context of limited resources, the energy crisis, and environmental concerns. This study investigates the adoption of shared logistics among logistics service providers in Poland. While SL is considered a promising strategy for addressing challenges such as resource scarcity and environmental concerns, only 27.4% of surveyed companies reported using it. Results suggest that small and micro-sized companies are more reluctant to adopt shared logistics, and education and awareness-raising efforts may be necessary to promote its adoption. The study provides valuable insights into the current and potential usage of SL in Poland, identifies barriers to its adoption and potential opportunities for promoting its use
... This topic has been widely studied by numerous researchers who have highlighted the benefits and the critical issues connected to it [2][3][4][5], pointing out the appropriate measures to take [6] and the assessment procedures [7]. The measures range from governance (e.g., [8]) to infrastructural elements (e.g., [9]) to equipment/new technologies (e.g., [2,10]). As an example, urban distribution centers (UDCs) are an element that could contribute to the reduction of impacts [11], especially if combined with low/zeroemissions freight vehicles [12][13][14]. ...
Full-text available
Freight transportation in urban areas represents an essential activity from the standpoint of economic development; in recent years, the spread of e-commerce (also accelerated by COVID-19) has contributed to increasing the demand for freight distribution over short distances. In most cities, the approaches and measures are often based on new technologies. Nevertheless, today there are contexts wherein delivery operations represent critical tasks to be solved. Furthermore, low accessibility areas, such as small islands, present further problems due to their exclusive dependence on maritime links (and often low-reliability services). This paper tackles this topic, formulating and solving a distribution problem by linking shipping services with last-mile distribution operated by means of an automatic delivery service (parcel lockers). A test application is proposed by considering the small island of Lipari in the archipelago of the Aeolian islands (Sicily, Southern Italy). The results show that such a type of service could reduce the user’s waiting time when compared to traditional home deliveries.
... Консолидација робних токова преко логистичких центара је била предмет многих истраживања, на пример [93,286,288] међутим, практична примена је ограничена на свега неколико делимично успешних примера [262,282]. ...
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In the last decades, the issues of sustainability and sustainable development attract much attention in expert and scientific domains. In the field of logistics, a specific issue is how to achieve sustainable goods flow realization. The realization of goods flows is supported by numerous logistics activities (transportation, transhipment, warehousing, goods processing, order picking, etc.) whose inadequate planning can lead to serious unsustainable effects. Transport is a logistics activity with the most unsustainable effects that challenge the economic, environmental and social sustainability of logistics systems and processes. The planning of sustainable logistics systems is a prerequisite for the sustainable realization of goods flows and the achievement of sustainable regional and local development. This was the main motive for the topic selection of this dissertation which focuses on the modelling of sustainable logistics systems at the macro (regional) and micro (local) levels. The goal of this dissertation was: the identification of key sustainability criteria of logistics systems at macro and micro levels, conceptualization and modelling of a Dry Port (DP) concept for inland waterway container terminals as a potentially sustainable development direction for intermodal transportation (IMT) systems; sustainability assessment of city logistics (CL) initiatives categories; conceptualization and modelling of a CL concept based on the development of city-DP terminals in the function of inland waterway transhipment stations; identification of key criteria/factors/objective functions that need to be considered when modelling/assessing sustainable logistics systems; development of adequate models for the modelling/assessment of systems and their application upon instances with realistic dimensions. In this dissertation, the problems of sustainable development and the role of planning sustainable logistics systems in its achievement are explained. The importance of IMT in achieving regional, macro sustainability, as well as the significance of CL in achieving local, micro sustainability, are highlighted. On the macro level, potentially sustainable development scenarios of IMT systems through the DP concept are defined. A novel scenario, not explored in the literature, is defined - the DP concept in the function of inland waterway container terminals. Тhis concept is explained in detail, and the problem of its modelling is mathematically formulated. For solving the problem, an original hybrid model, based on the Bee Colony Optimization (BCO) metaheuristic and MARCOS (Measurement of Alternatives and Ranking According to Compromise Solution) multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) method. On the micro-level, the sustainability of CL initiatives categories is assessed. For the assessment, a hybrid MCDM model, based on the AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process) and MARCOS methods in the fuzzy environment, is developed. Based on the results, potentially sustainable development directions of CL systems are highlighted, and potentially sustainable CL concepts are defined. For the first time, a novel CL concept, based on the development of city-DP terminals in the function of inland waterway transhipment stations is defined. The problem of modelling such a system is mathematically formulated and solved with the developed BCO-MARCOS hybrid metaheuristic model. The set hypotheses are proven in the dissertation, which fulfilled its main goals. The main contributions of the dissertation are: opening of new research areas of logistics systems’ sustainability by defining innovative and creative solutions in the fields of IMT and CL; the problems of modelling sustainable logistics systems at macro and micro levels are described, and the approaches for their solving that encompass their multicriterial nature are defined; the DP concept in the function of inland waterway terminals is defined; the problem of modelling the DP concept in the function of inland waterway container terminals is explained and mathematically formulated; a CL concept, based on the application of city-DP terminals in the function of inland waterway transhipment stations, is defined; the problem of modelling such CL concept is explained and mathematically formulated; an original hybrid model, based on the BCO metaheuristic and MARCOS MCDM method, is developed; the hybrid model is used for solving the problem of modelling the DP concept in the function of inland waterway terminals, as well as for solving the problem of modelling the CL concept based on city-DP terminals in the function of inland waterway transhipment stations; a case study for the Danube region is presented for which the modelling problem of the DP concept in the function of inland waterway container terminals is solved; an instance, inspired by a part of Belgrade network, is generated for which the modelling problem of the CL concept that applies city-DP terminals in the function of inland waterway transhipment stations is solved; an original hybrid MCDM model, based on the AHP and MARCOS methods in the fuzzy environment for assessing the sustainability of CL initiatives categories is developed; the sustainability of CL initiatives categories is assessed for the case of Belgrade.
Urban goods distribution has a vital role in city logistics and sustainability of transport in cities. Urban goods distribution in Indian cities is largely missing among local policymakers. City logistics solutions are complex and challenging due to consensus among the heterogeneous urban freight stakeholders across commodities. Freight strategies adopted in Indian cities are often neglected and applied without scientific investigations, thus needs a scientific evaluation of freight strategies to bring an acceptable solution to all freight stakeholders of the urban goods sector. Agent-based modelling and simulation (ABMS) can flexibly represent a city logistics system to understand and predict policy measures for freight efficiency and externalities. This research paper develops an ABMS framework across commodities to assess the impacts of freight consolidation centres strategy on freight stakeholders for last-mile deliveries in Jaipur city in India. The hypothesis for the research study is assumed that urban freight consolidation space strategy has a similar impact across commodities for last-mile deliveries. Primary data for wholesalers, retailers and transport operators across commodities were collected with face-to-face pen and pencil survey. Goods traffic volume count and model counts from ABMS are used for model validation by the G.E.H. statistics method. ABMS model results confirm that freight consolidation centres strategy has not similar impacts across commodity distribution in last-mile deliveries of goods. The present research study attempts to demonstrate the utility of the ABMS modelling technique for assisting in rational decision making towards sustainable urban freight distribution in developing countries like India.KeywordsUrban freightStrategiesSustainabilityABMS
Business model innovation (BMI) is an important but challenging process that is potentially hampered by obstruction and confusion. Despite its significance, BMI is an underexplored topic in research on urban freight transport. By studying two examples of technological innovations, namely electrified freight vehicles and digitalisation, this paper reviews the existing literature and reinterprets five cases of attempted BMI in the Swedish urban freight transport sector. Three key issues are suggested to impede innovation. First, BMI and technological development are two closely related processes that influence each other. Thus, they are part of a complex context that is difficult for project participants to assess. Second, decision makers confront difficulties in deciding the specific stakeholders to prioritise and may thus unintentionally exclude important groups. Third, as BMI is a novel approach to business development, it presents participants with considerable uncertainty about the responsibilities that they and other actors have toward each other. These issues indicate that in the urban freight transport sector, the theoretical dichotomy of barriers emanating from either obstruction or confusion must be expanded to include a third barrier, strategic misalignment, which arises due to diverging interests and organisational incentives.
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Around the world, many cities are struggling with the negative effects of urban freight transport, such as congestion and emissions. To mitigate these negative effects, both innovative solutions, such as urban consolidation centers, and regulations, such as city toll schemes and delivery time windows, can be adopted. In this paper, we investigate the impact of city toll regulations on the vehicle routing and transshipment decisions of logistics service providers. We present a mixed-integer linear programming formulation and an adaptive large neighborhood search heuristic that address the interdependent decisions of vehicle routing and the use of urban consolidation centers, taking into account city toll schemes and time window constraints. In this context, we consider heterogeneous fleets, multiple trips per vehicle, and use a multigraph to address the trade-off between fastest and cheapest paths. We validate the adaptive large neighborhood search by comparing it with the mixed-integer linear programming model on test instances with up to 20 customers. To analyze how city toll schemes affect the cost attractiveness of urban consolidation centers and the fleet composition of logistics service providers, we conduct an extensive computational study featuring real-world instances that provide managerial insights for both local administrations and logistics service providers. Our results show that both per-day and per-entrance tolls can be used by local administrations to support the use of urban consolidation centers and that the number of truck entries into urban areas can be reduced. However, our results also indicate that due to the transshipment fee per unit load, the cost attractiveness of using urban consolidation centers is considerably lower for logistics service providers with larger delivery quantities per stop.
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Individual freight transport policies have been investigated in the literature extensively in the last 10–15 years, yet there has surprisingly been very little attention to the process of selecting urban freight transport (UFT) policy measures. This study focuses on UFT policy choice by local authorities, investigating how policy context, resource availability and the need for legitimacy influence how local authorities seek and select UFT specific policies. The methodology is a cross-case analysis of eleven cities across three countries (Sweden, England and Scotland), based on interview and documentary data. Findings reveal that all cities have the same high-level goals, such as reducing emissions and congestion, supporting the economy and improving quality of life. However, in most cases these rather general goals are not broken down into clear objectives with targets that can be measured. Therefore, selected UFT policy measures are chosen from a pool of common measures (primarily access restrictions such as time windows and weight restrictions), but without monitored targets that determine whether or not they are achieving objectives. This does not necessarily mean that the measures chosen are inappropriate, but that there is a lack of a strategic approach to setting and reviewing measures according to achieving specific policy goals. This is primarily a result of a lack of resources and dedicated UFT personnel, as well as challenges related to public acceptability of restrictive policies.
Technical Report
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The present study examines the model of freight consolidation platforms, and urban distribution centers (UDCs) in particular, as a means to solve the last mile problem of urban freight while reducing vehicle miles traveled and associated environmental impacts. This paper attempts to identify the key characteristics that make UDCs successful and discuss under what contextual settings (e.g., institutional, policy) they work best. After an extensive review of UDC cases already implemented in other countries, the study examined three UDCs cases with potential applicability to the New York metropolitan region, discussing models and relevant features and elements that may be transferred to the New York context.
Full-text available
Although urban consolidation centres (UCC) worldwide have improved urban freight distribution and reduced externalities, other UCC initiatives have not materialised due to problems such as for example, business model limitations. All the same, researchers have rarely described business model components relevant to city logistics. In response, the purpose of this article is to analyse critical factors for viable business models of city logistics initiatives involving UCCs. Following an extensive literature review and multiple-case study of five initiatives with UCCs, we identified seven critical factors of viable city logistics business models: the ability to scale up and down the UCC solution; an ability to continuously develop and adapt to a dynamic environment; the important entrepreneurial role of the initiator as well; the acknowledgment of society; ability to innovate new services; logistics and supply chain management competence; and the ability to take full advantage of advanced IT. All seven factors describe continuously redeveloped business models seeking to seize new and unexpected opportunities, yet also indicate that city logistics systems require local authorities and municipalities to act as initiators, enablers, and customers. The models also underscore differences between purely commercial and purely municipal city logistics initiatives.
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Cities’ sustainability strategies seem to aim at the reduction of the negative impacts of urban freight transport. In the past decades, many public and private initiatives have struggled to gain broad stakeholder support and thus remain viable. Researchers and practitioners have only recently recognised stakeholder acceptance of urban freight solutions as a challenge. A first step in achieving convergence is to understand stakeholder needs, preferences and viewpoints. This paper proposes and applies an approach to identify the main stakeholder perspectives in the domain of urban freight transport. We use Q-methodology, which originates from social sciences and psychology, to record subjective positions and identify the dominant ones. We explain the approach, operationalise the method for the domain of urban freight transport and apply it to stakeholder groups in the Netherlands. We find four dominant perspectives, reflecting how stakeholders normally take positions in the urban freight dialogue. Important findings concern disparities between industry associations and some of their membership, divergent views about the expected role of public administration, and the observation that the behaviour of shippers and Logistics Service Providers (LSP) appears to be inconsistent with their beliefs. All these factors together can act as a barrier to the implementation of urban freight consolidation concepts. The Q-methodology is valuable for eliciting perspectives in urban freight and is a promising tool to facilitate stakeholder dialogue and, eventually, convergence.
Purpose Urban consolidation centre (UCC) is a popular initiative targeting the challenge of negative environmental and social impacts from freight transports in cities. Despite this, UCC often fails in practice, which indicates a knowledge gap. Furthermore, research within the field can be described as fragmented, transdisciplinary and fast growing. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the field by describing dominant categories and themes within the area, identify gaps in order to propose a future research agenda, and provide insights into the needs of practitioners. Design/methodology/approach A systematic literature review (SLR) targeting journal articles based on UCCs has been constructed with a supplementary snowball approach. A content analysis was performed to categorise themes in the research on UCCs and to identify research gaps, both within and outside the categories identified. Findings Despite substantial research on UCC, very little research ends up in academic journals. In all, 56 articles address UCC. The most common topics were the role of stakeholders, design of distribution structures and transport resources, environmental and social consideration, and economic considerations. Much focus is directed towards finding “optimal” solutions and designs for potential initiatives with very little, if any, consideration to financial viability or the management of the UCC initiative. Research limitations/implications This research points out existing gaps in the literature and proposes a future research agenda with UCCs as the focus. For example, although environmental and social arguments are often applied to justify the implementation of UCCs, few studies measure or evaluate their impact. Another important research gap is the economical consideration, both how to generate revenue and how to consider economies of scale. Practical implications The practical contribution of most studies is directed towards municipalities. Few findings are presented in a way to support companies. Additionally, by bridging the gaps related to how stakeholders can collaborate and describe what is happening in a UCC, practitioners can use such information as guidelines. Originality/value The results provide a research agenda for the fragmented research targeting UCCs, supporting the viability of future initiatives.
Urban freight distribution accounts for a significant share of pollution and congestion in urban areas. To reduce these negative impacts, municipalities have implemented several City Logistics (CL) measures. This paper presents the empirical analysis of a dataset of 70 European cities that have been piloting or rolling out a CL measure, to provide an updated indication of the status of CL initiatives and analyse the diffusion of CL internationally. The research objective is also to help understand the contextual factors might explain their introduction. To this end, a set of City Logistics Indices (CLI) is used as indicators of the breadth and number of CL measures implemented in a city. A statistical correlation of these CLIs with respect to a set of independent variables, namely the contextual factors, is also performed. Results reveal that the level of pollution, the diffusion of e-commerce and GDP are important drivers of CL deployment.
Urban freight transport is a complex field characterised by many actors and stakeholders and thus many rationalities are at stake. This paper contributes to literature on urban freight governance by approaching the field with social system theory combined with the concepts of relationship platforms and value co-creation. This approach facilitates an improved process to foster implementation of innovative urban freight solutions that is illustrated by means of an analysis of the Copenhagen Citylogistik-kbh demonstration project. The results of this analysis indicate that attaining a shared sense of value creation among stakeholders through this process is key to implementation of new urban freight solutions.
Purpose Urban consolidation centres (UCCs) are often conceived to improve services in retail stores and potentially reduce costs. However, few studies have examined how retail stores perceive the services a UCC could provide. The purpose of this paper is to explore retail stores’ potential demands for different services that a UCC could provide in order to foster the development and implementation of UCC solutions aimed towards more economically feasible business models. Design/methodology/approach Structured interviews were conducted with employees at 72 retail stores. Qualitative, as well as quantitative analyses, were conducted to identify the potential demands of the retail stores. Findings The authors have provided arguments why retail stores might be interested in UCC services, and thereby potentially pay for them. Improved customer service to stores’ customers might not be a valid argument. The authors point to the cost aspect: stores expend resources that a UCC could provide in a more cost-efficient manner. Research limitations/implications The findings contradict previous studies to some extent, as it indicates that a UCC may actually not enhance customer service in retail stores. Instead, the findings point to the importance of considering the potential advantages according to economies of scale that are facilitated by UCC services. Practical implications Taking the perspective of the stores is important in order to identify arguments for why they should pay for the services provided by a UCC. Social implications Financially viable UCC solutions are needed in order for the initiatives to be maintained and thereby provide a long-term decrease in the environmental and social footprints caused by urban freight. Originality/value This study answers the call for research addressing retailers’ perspective in urban logistics, as it takes a demand-driven perspective of the development of UCC services. Furthermore, by highlighting services requested by retail stores, it can guide the financing of UCC initiatives, an aspect that has been lacking.
Urban freight consolidation centres are part of the city logistics measures that aim to reduce the negative impacts related to urban freight transport activities, whilst at the same time providing a more seamless, higher-value logistics experience for their users. By collecting the goods destined to the target area and consolidating deliveries into one large delivery made by high-load vehicles, urban consolidation centres can relieve congestion and improve air quality. Significant benefits also accrue to the participating retailers, e.g. improved staff productivity and safety, the provision of pre-retailing services and recycling of packaging.
A methodology to design energy-efficient timetables in Rapid Railway Transit Networks is presented. Using an empirical description of the train energy consumption as a function of running times, the timetable design problem is modelled as a Mixed Integer Non-Linear optimization problem (MINLP) for a complete two-way line. In doing so, all the services in both directions along a certain planning horizon are considered while attending a known passengers’ demand. The MINLP formulation, which depends on train loads, is fully linearised supposing train loads are fixed. A sequential Mixed Integer Linear solving procedure is then used to solve the timetabling optimization problem with unknown train loads. The proposed methodology emphasizes the need of considering all the services running during the planning horizon when designing energy-efficient timetables, as consequence of the relationship among train speeds, frequency and fleet size of each line. Moreover, the convenience of considering the energy consumption as part of a broad objective function that includes other relevant costs is pointed out. Otherwise, passengers and operators could face up to an increase in the whole cost and a decrease in the quality of service. A real data scenario, based on the C-2 Line of the Madrid Metropolitan Railways, is used to illustrate the proposed methodology and to discuss the differences between the energy-efficient solutions and those obtained when considering operation and acquisition costs.