Bridging the logistics divide with service inclusion for socially sustainable urban logistics services

Over the past decade, e-commerce has put increasing pressure on urban logistics and highlighted significant sustainability challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic intensified these issues, emphasizing the need to address social sustainability within e-commerce. The pandemic, in particular, highlighted the disparities in access to home deliveries and the critical need for a logistic system that aligns with societal principles and sustainable development goals. A new paper aims to identify urban logistics services that emerged in response to the access limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and to analyze how these services can enhance inclusivity and equitable access to goods.

The researchers use an exploratory and qualitative research design using a deductive content analysis approach. This method seeks to systematize, objectively analyze, and draw conclusions from secondary evidence and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders. Their research identified various urban logistics innovations, including organizational changes, transportation modal shifts, and advancements in information and technology, designed to overcome existing restrictions. The findings reveal a lack of inclusivity and equitable access to logistics innovations, which led to ad-hoc organization by citizens and private initiatives during the pandemic’s extraordinary circumstances.

The researchers introduce the concept of the logistics divide to examine the inequalities in who benefits from logistics innovations. This divide arises from the varying abilities of different consumer segments to access these services due to digital literacy, geographical barriers, legal obstacles, or economic reasons. The findings also show that urban logistics actors have begun to innovate to increase access to goods after the pandemic highlighted this logistics divide. In essence, this paper underscores the importance of integrating transport and logistics research with transformative service research to reduce the logistics divide and achieve more equitable urban logistics.

Source: Altuntas Vural, C., Sanchez-Diaz, I., Halldórsson, Árni, & Ait, L.-T. (2024). Bridging the logistics divide with service inclusion for socially sustainable urban logistics services. European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research24(1), 30–58.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *