What is the future of city logistics hubs?

City logistics is fundamental to city life. However, it is responsible for around half of the local air pollutants in cities caused by traffic, generating congestion and other emissions. Moreover, city logistics involves more than just e-commerce. Recent trends in goods distribution, reverse logistics, the emergence of dark kitchens and dark stores, and growing regulatory demands have made logistics more complex.

The dual trend of logistics returning to the city and growing demand for larger sub-urban warehouses must also be considered. A new report provides targeted advice to policymakers on proactive measures to manage the complexities of city logistics and facilitate the uptake and success of city logistics hubs. This report draws on the deliberations of an ITF Roundtable, “Urban Logistics Hubs.”

Policy Insights

  • Logistics is more than e-commerce. City logistics includes deliveries, distribution, returns, collections, and servicing. A wide range of stakeholders with consumer and business demands are involved in the logistics ecosystem. Thinking about improving logistics started in e-commerce and now drives developments in the other segments.
  • Shift to sustainable logistics. City logistics is unlikely the most beneficial use of real estate, considering sparse urban space. However, the absence of sustainably designed and operated urban logistics hubs could lead to more or more polluting vehicles in cities as no transshipment space is available.
  • Strengthen understanding of logistics and hubs. Planning authorities should provide best-practice guidelines and frame policies for logistics and associated hubs without significantly increasing costs for operators and customers. The public sector should govern, while the private sector should lead the construction, operation, and management of logistics hubs.

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Source: ITF

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