Sweden: municipal co-distribution of goods

Municipal co-distribution of goods in Sweden has evolved from an isolated innovation developed in 1999 to an approach implemented in 39 municipalities by 2016, through which the business model has been refined with digital tools, first through e- commerce and then route optimization.

The role of municipality

In Sweden, through comprehensive frameworks of public administration, it is important to distinguish between measures that promote the efficiency of urban freight transport and of municipalities as traffic controlling authorities and those that support municipalities as transport buyers and as owners of goods in a municipal supply chain.

The need for local government to procure freight transport services is probably more urgent in Sweden than it is in any other country given Sweden’s extensive welfare sector. In particular, free schooling, elder care and health care involve significant investments in food, consumables and office supplies. In this sense, a municipality can be compared to any private company that relies on products from external suppliers.
A new paper by Olof Moen addresses the municipal co-distribution of goods whereby a municipality becomes a transport buyer and whereby procurement and purchasing processes occur as part of a business model.

A survey of all 33 municipalities in Skåne County shows that political commitment is necessary to make decisions to implement. the results are published in a paper by Olof Moen, Department of Economy and Society, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Improve local business climate

Earlier analyses have primarily focused on mitigating negative environmental impacts of freight transport and regulation. This survey shows that equally strong criterions are to involve local food producers as tenderers and increase the efficiency of municipal supply chains. Where new business models are based on a zero-sum game with regard to cost, gains are primarily societal from a cost-benefit perspective in meeting municipalities’ environmental goals and improve the local business climate.

The full paper can be found here.

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