Delivery vans stopping everywhere, waiting trucks, and more and more traffic in the city. Will the continuing growth of online commerce lead to congestion in cities? MRU, a consulting firm specializing in the courier, express, and parcel logistics industry, did research on behalf of the German E-Commerce and Mail Order Association (Bundesverbandes E-Commerce und Versandhandel Deutschland e.V.).
Despite the considerable growth in online sales, the delivery of parcels does not lead to a traffic collapse in Germany’s major cities. On the one hand, the increase in the volume of parcels has been significantly lower in percentage terms than the increase in order revenues. The volume growth in online retailing with private end customers, in combination with the significantly stronger growth in B2B parcel deliveries, has not led to a serious increase in the number of delivery trips by parcel companies compared with all other traffic movements in the cities. Last but not least, more and more orders are also being delivered to customers outside the metropolitan areas, to the surrounding rural areas, or to smaller towns.
Delivery vans per square kilometer
In 2019, Munich is in first place with 4,9 (2018: 4,5) parcel delivery trips per day and per square kilometer. Frankfurt and Düsseldorf follow with 3,8 and 3,3 trips per square kilometer on weekdays, respectively. At 2,9 and 2,2 (2018: 2.1), Berlin and Hamburg have a significantly lower density of parcel delivery trips per day and square kilometer. Overall, the B2C share of parcel delivery traffic in the trips per square kilometer and day in the cities studied at around two thirds.
Using the city of Hamburg as an example, MRU calculated the changes in shipment volumes and the resulting traffic volume. For all commercial and private deliveries, the number of delivery traffic increased from 2,1 to just 2,2 departures per square kilometer.
However, this is a much smaller number than the deliveries caused by stationary retail trade or HoReCa. In 2018, these already caused 28 departures per square kilometer on weekdays. Car traffic is by far the most essential part of congestion in German cities.
There is still a lack of comprehensive solutions and the consideration of logistical requirements in urban planning. Horst Manner-Romberg, Managing Director of MRU GmbH: “This ranges from the lack of delivery and loading zones, the failure to designate areas for micro-hubs, among other things, to the failure to take regulatory measures, such as setting up time windows for distribution. All this, however, requires an active commitment from local authorities. And unfortunately, this is often lacking in our country”.