Delivery companies such as Gorillas, Getir, and Zapp promise to deliver groceries within 10 minutes even 24 hours a day. In recent months, these companies have hired hundreds of new couriers to deliver on the promise of fast hyperlocal delivery in Amsterdam. The popularity of these fast shopping services is growing, but so are the undesired effects.
A majority of the Amsterdam city council recently supported a motion by GroenLinks councilor Elisabeth IJmker to come up with a study before the end of the year into the consequences of flash delivery for shopping areas, traffic safety, and the streetscape.
Racing through the city
AUAS professor in city logistics Walther Ploos van Amstel mentions a few disadvantages, such as the time pressure, which has consequences for road safety. Ploos van Amstel: “The delivery drivers in this industry often only have 5 to 8 minutes to get the order to the consumers, so there is enormous pressure on them to race through the city on their electric bikes. The customers and the company benefit from the risks they take, but if they end up under a tram or car, society will pay for the costs”.
Also, the opening of many ‘dark stores’, supply points in the neighborhoods from which the deliverers deliver their orders, is increasingly causing problems; double-parked cars from suppliers, or loitering delivery guys waiting for an order. The shop windows of the former retail properties in which Gorillas or Getir are established are usually taped up, which does not improve the livability of a street. Supermarkets and catering must submit all kinds of plans and permits before a new branch can open. These kinds of rules should also be necessary for these dark stores.
Rotterdam alderman Roos Vermeij (PvdA) already announced in April that she wanted to sit down with the fast delivery companies to limit the negative consequences of the new business model for the city.
Ploos van Amstel would advise the municipality to introduce an operating permit for new locations of the delivery companies. He is also thinking of training courses for employees, such as those developed for meal couriers, or speedometers or limiters that allow the bicycles to go a maximum of 25 kilometers per hour. Also, the visibility should be improved, just like with taxis, according to the professor: “It would be good if speed cameras could be recognized on the street, for example by a number on their helmet or company clothing.”
Councilor IJmker wants to see action from the municipality this year. “Grocery delivery is very much alive, everyone sees it, but what are we going to do about it?” However, the Rotterdam alderman Vermeij was also realistic in the direction of her city council. “We don’t have a tool everywhere to say no to a Gorillas. Retail is evolving faster than regulation,” she told Parool.