Research: exploring logistics-as-a-service to integrate the consumer into urban freight

E-commerce established the consumer as a freight actor. This new reality in the e-commerce supply chain holds economic, social, and environmental opportunities. Consumers have become an essential stakeholder in freight transport, which current logistics systems thus do not reflect.

There are three ways in which the integration of consumers is vital to advance last-mile deliveries. First, logistics service providers can capitalize on the willingness of consumers to pay for tailored logistics services. Second, consumers can be confronted with the correct delivery options costs, raising awareness and influencing their sustainability choices. Third, policymakers can steer the consumer directly, nudging their behavior to reach urban freight policy objectives.

The lack of interaction between the logistics service provider and the consumer prevented the exploitation of these opportunities. In a new paper, researchers look at passenger transport, specifically the concept of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), for inspiration on integrating the consumer into the logistics market.

The researchers propose conceptualizations for a Logistics-as-a-Service (LaaS) platform with different levels of integration and discuss the role of various stakeholders. They conclude with research questions that deserve attention to develop further the LaaS idea and its proof of concept for consumer logistics. The research was part of the Green-log project.

Source: Beckers, J., Cardenas, I., Le Pira, M., & Zhang, J. (2023). Exploring Logistics-as-a-Service to integrate the consumer into urban freight. Research in Transportation Economics, 101, 101354.

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