Cargo bikes in service logistics in Amsterdam: lessons learned

The Amsterdam Economic Board is piloting cargo bikes in service logistics. The first results look promising. A quarter of all delivery vans in Amsterdam are related to service logistics. Drivers have to deal with high parking costs. With a lack of parking spaces they have to walk for ten minutes to the customer. Or, they are on the road for half an hour to the next address, that’s only three kilometers away.

As the AEB mobility challenge lead, Richard Hoving spoke with Mark Berger, project and business developer at landscaping company Hoek: “Our landscapers often drive large cars with trailers through the city and cannot easily find a parking space. This reduces productivity considerably. In addition, the municipality is working hard to remove ten thousand parking spaces in the center and the idea is that city logistics completely emission-free by 2025. Those are quite a few challenges.“

As the initiator of the Green Deal ZES MRA, Richard Hoving came in contact with Mark Berger. They initiated the service logistics project to investigate what new logistics concepts are necessary for future zero-emission zones. DOCKR Mobility and service company Feenstra also joined the project group, as well as the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (related to the AUAS project Gas on Electric).
“In this project, we link service companies to providers of zero-emission solutions,” says AUAS researcher Susanne Balm. “We look at how they can organize their logistics best, we evaluate the behavior and attitudes of employees and we think about new business models around this, and how we can scale them up successfully.”

Early Spring this year, various service companies completed a questionnaire, which collected ideas for pilots. This resulted in five interesting possible solutions, one of which was further developed into a pilot: installation company Feenstra is now testing Dockr’s electric freight bikes based at the hub of moving company Deudekom in Duivendrecht. 

Engineers on e-cargo bike

The human aspect turned out to be the most difficult in this pilot, says Remco van den Beld, manager at Feenstra. “A bus or car is often a kind of status symbol for an engineer. It is not easy to get someone like that on a bike. That’s why we included the mechanics in our plans from the start. For example, we organized a day on which they all bikes from Dockr themselves. We showed that they certainly had a choice. Most engineers are now very enthusiastic. “

The business case for the pilot was easy, says Remco Van den Beld. “It was not really difficult to convince management. We have twelve engineers continuously driving around Amsterdam. Parking in the city costs up to 7.50 euros per hour and you also have to deal with half an hour of travel time from one location to another. An additional advantage is that we can now also send the boys we train ourselves, but who do not yet have a driving license. They are very enthusiastic. Just like the customers, by the way.“ Engineers have to be able to park their car and drink coffee. That’s how Feenstra strated working with the hub managed by Deudekom.


The pilot requires a different way of organizing. “We have to do much better work preparation, because you don’t always have everything with you,” says Van den Beld. “In addition, we have to provide good rain gear and engineers receive a fixed amount per day to be able to have lunch somewhere inside. Normally, of course, they mainly did that in their van. I am curious how the engineers will experience the winter period.”

The pilot is the reason for Feenstra to investigate further. “Whether we can organize our journeys in the city differently, for example, and plan more intelligently. And whether we can also place cars at the hub, so that the engineer can change if he has to go further away. This project in Amsterdam is a prestige project, the engineers are enthusiastic, it buzzes throughout the organization. If it works well, we will also do this in other branches. “

Mark Berger, from Hoek: “For us, it is a bit more complicated: we cannot just switch to the cargo bike because we also have to bring tools with long handles and sometimes also green waste. We also have older employees, who we have to involve step by step. I hope that over a year a few of our gardeners drive through the city with cargo bikes or a small electric vehicle. “

In the long run, companies will no longer have a choice because of the zero-emission measures, says Susanne Balm of the AUAS: “In the Gas on Electric project, the researchers are trying to find out what works and what doesn’t work and under what conditions it remains pleasant to work for the employees. The great thing is that all participants are willing to share their experiences: providers of solutions, but also the service companies themselves. Everyone has a small piece of the puzzle in their hands. By putting all those puzzle pieces together we can find out what it is. works best.“

Source: AEB

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