First European urban logistics campus chooses Dutch location

The first European campus for innovative urban logistics will be located in the Netherlands, in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. Urban logistics presents one of the biggest global challenges to improving the quality of life in urban areas around the world.

The City Logistics Innovation Campus referred to as CLIC, will serve as a hotbed for everything that has to do with rethinking and reinventing how goods are delivered in cities. Examples of innovative strategies include combining goods flows, deploying an electrically-powered “green fleet” for deliveries, intelligent stockpiling strategies, sustainable packaging, and efficiently processing return flows for (online) supermarkets, companies, building sites, and package delivery & meal delivery services, to name just a few.

Congested cities – a global trend

The growth of urban populations and the rapidly increasing rise in goods deliveries are leading to major congestion problems in cities all over the world. About 75% of the population in Europe and North America live in urban areas, and that percentage is only increasing further on every continent, according to figures from Eurostat. In part due to the corona pandemic, the number of deliveries for online orders is also rising sharply and, as a result, also the scale of vehicle movements, emissions, and noise pollution associated with deliveries.

Paris and Budapest have long made it clear that air pollution caused by logistic flows is a major problem. In the mega-metropolis of New York, the need for improved logistics planning and innovation is becoming increasingly acute, but the relevant parties are simply not collaborating enough: only 12% of the enterprises in New York are actively seeking to cooperate with government bodies, urban planners, or institutes of higher education.

The traffic situation in London has become increasingly dangerous due to congestion; between 2015 and 2017, a heavy commercial vehicle was involved in 63% of fatal bicycle accidents. In addition, customers all over the world are becoming increasingly demanding with respect to delivery speed, cost, exact time and location of delivery, and sustainability. The need for innovative smart urban logistics solutions is growing more acute every day and will only continue to do so in the future.

Collaboration essential

CLIC’s mission is to improve the quality-of-life in cities by reducing emissions, noise pollution, and vehicle movements. Collaboration is essential for a successful result, and this is the underlying theme in the European approach to the challenge presented by the Alliance for Logistics Innovation through Collaboration in Europe. Collaboration is not limited to innovation within a national framework but actually focuses on international innovation and collaboration. CLIC facilitates this and enables relevant parties to combine goods flows, resulting in faster delivery and less congestion.

CLIC will be located on a 120,000 m² lot on the edge of the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, only a stone’s throw away from the major international airport of Schiphol. Companies from various sectors, knowledge, and educational institutions, and government bodies from the Netherlands, Europe, and the rest of the world will be able to use this logistics hotspot as a vibrant base for collaboration. CLIC will provide them with the space and facilities needed to cycle through the entire innovation cycle – from idea to proof of concept to realization.

CLIC is an initiative of Somerset Capital Partners, which specialised in the development of logistics real estate, and its partner Bohemen. A total of over 250 million euros (over 295 million US dollars) is being invested in the project. ‘By bringing together knowledge from all over the world and working together, we aim to shape the future of urban logistics’, explains Robert Kreeft, project manager at Somerset Capital Partners and responsible for the development of CLIC. ‘The Amsterdam region is an ideal incubator in that regard: if it can be done here, it can also be done in other major cities.

The Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (AMA) is a major urban center, has stringent and progressive regulations in place, and the Netherlands is also a leader in (urban) logistics innovation. All parties who are involved in the urban logistics chain or wish to be involved in innovative urban logistics are welcome to set up a base at CLIC and showcase the kinds of solutions the world is looking for.’

Innovative ecosystem

‘Everything these innovative players are looking for will be available at CLIC’, says Robert Kreeft. ‘We will have innovative urban logistics hubs, flexible commercial space, modern office units, and shared services developed specifically for the sector. But the most important element is an innovative ecosystem of “like-minded” parties focused on urban logistics. We invite all parties to share their ideas with us on how we can accommodate and facilitate them to the fullest at CLIC. Young talent as well as more mature and experienced companies are welcome to help shape CLIC in their image and to work on innovative emission-free urban logistics solutions. They can do so in a campus setting with all the facilities on hand to enjoy their work to the fullest.’

CLIC will function as an incubator and test site for dozens of diverse organizations, including food companies, technical service providers, delivery specialists, and modern platform companies as well as companies from various sectors otherwise involved in the logistics chain (e.g. automobiles, ICT, energy, manufacturing, etc.) and knowledge & educational institutions.

‘Bundling capacity: CLIC’s strength’

Walther Ploos van Amstel, a professor in City Logistics at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences on urban logistics in the AMA: ‘90% of the delivery traffic here comes from outside the city, and the companies where it comes from are also widely distributed. The strength of CLIC is that it will soon be possible to bundle the capacity. In fact, there will soon be a major shortage of suitable space for the right kind of urban logistics activities at the edge of the city. Without this space, it will not be possible to bundle goods flows or to even enter the city with electric vehicles or cargo bikes. If nothing is done, it will simply become too expensive for companies to continue making deliveries in the city.’

Robert Kreeft: ‘Optimising urban logistics is a complex matter. A lot of good things are already happening in urban logistics, but for far-reaching innovation to take place, the parties from various sectors have to cooperate. Everyone has a different piece of the puzzle, and at CLIC we will soon be able to put all the pieces together.’

European cities in 2030 emission-free

In the Paris Agreement, 195 countries, including the Netherlands, agreed to limit the increase in average global temperature in 2050 to less than 2°C and, if possible, 1.5°C. As part of this agreement, CO2 emissions have to be reduced by 49% by 2030. Many European municipalities have therefore decided to work towards achieving emission-free cities in 2030.
Roughly 30 cities in the Netherlands have adopted the goal of introducing emission-free zones in 2025, whereas less than 1% of logistics flows are currently emission-free. Ploos van Amstel sees CLIC playing an important role here. ‘Companies have to work together to focus on the volumes that make a difference. Bundling flows of goods is the key to making urban logistics more efficient, cleaner, and affordable: fewer vehicles, fewer drivers, and fewer emissions.’

About CLIC

CLIC, the City Logistics Innovation Campus, is the first European campus for urban logistics. Companies, knowledge institutions, and government bodies from the Netherlands, Europe, and the rest of the world will work together here to develop smart solutions for the future of urban logistics. CLIC serves and facilitates these players by providing a logistics hub, a central goods transshipment facility, and an innovation campus with a full range of facilities. CLIC is located in the middle of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (AMA) within easy striking distance of Amsterdam, Haarlem, Amstelveen, Hoofddorp, and Schiphol International Airport. The Port of Rotterdam is only an hour away by road.

Somerset Capital Partners invests in real estate, private equity, and the financial markets. It specializes in the development of high-quality large-scale properties, with a clear focus on logistics and data centers at strategic multimodal locations in the Netherlands. In recent years, it has developed approximately 1 mln square meters of logistics real estate. The spatial planning developer Bohemen enabled the rerouting of the A9 motorway and the development of the (Amsterdam) Lijndenhof site and the other development sites in Badhoevedorp such as Quatrebras. Bohemen specializes in integrated spatial planning solutions such as the rerouting of the A9 motorway, the sunken completion of the A4 motorway in the Leiden region, and the redevelopment of the former route of the N201 provincial road in Aalsmeer.

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