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Sustainable mobility concepts for city logistics

Vehicle manufacturers, rental companies and logistics providers already offer numerous concrete solutions for clean and efficient city supply. Read more about the sustainable mobility concepts of the future and why they are indispensable for logistics.

Sustainable solutions for city logistics

The search for solutions for city logistics is not only about protecting the environment and health. Economic interests such as gaining market share and custer loyalty also play an important role in the search for greater sustainability.

That's good news for the people in the cities: because if economic and ecological goals coincide, research into new concepts will be accelerated considerably. At transport logistic 2019, logistics companies presented their innovative mobility concepts for the future.

Smarter and fully loaded to the customer

"The ever-increasing density of traffic not only leads to higher pollution levels, it also affects our timeliness and thus annoys our customers," explains Christian Drenthen, Chairman of Global Land Transport at Schenker AG.

His company therefore focused on concepts that "bring us to the customer faster, more efficiently and smarter and, at the same time, reduce traffic, noise and exhaust emissions in the cities.” This includes cargo bikes and trucks with alternative drives. Schenker is also trying “to optimize traffic flows intelligently and digitally with platooning or by testing fully autonomous trucks.”

In his opinion, however, the greatest effect in the short to medium term is achieved by constantly improving fleet utilization through efficient tour management with as few empty trips as possible.

Tailor-made concepts for sustainable city logistics

Together with local authorities, DHL develops sustainable city logistics concepts. "They range from StreetScooter for CO2-free delivery in entire city centers to delivery by micro-depots and cargo bicycles in individual city districts," explains Marc Rüffler, Head of Operations at Deutsche Post DHL Group. “We adapt our solutions to the individual conditions on site and continuously refine our range.”

With its mobility concept „Urban Blue“, the parcel service Hermes also wants to supply Germany’s 80 major cities in an emission-free manner by2025. Its main focus is on the partnership with Mercedes-Benz Vans: "Over the next few years, we want to bring 1,500 electric transporters—eVito and eSprinter—on the German roads," explains Michael Peuker, Sustainability Manager at Hermes Germany.

In addition, his company is testing "alternative delivery by cargo bike in cities such as Berlin and Hamburg or with an electric lightweight vehicle in the Munich area." The 15,000 parcel shops in Germany would also contribute to a significant reduction in emissions, especially as secure storage locations are being established.

Future mobility concepts: emission-free & quiet trucks

On the part of the manufacturers, in particular the range of vehicles with alternative drive systems is growing.

In addition to the electric versions of the Vito and Sprinter, Daimler, for example, also offers the heavy, battery-operated distribution truck for urban areas. "We are far beyond the theoretical phase and prototypes. Since September 2018, the eActros has been in practical use at customers throughout Germany," reports Stefan Buchner, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks.

The customers involved distribute goods in city traffic—but in completely different sectors and categories. “This way, we want to gain comprehensive knowledge. Our goal is to achieve local zero-emission and quiet driving in cities from 2021, even with heavy series production trucks."

The commercial vehicle rental company PEMA is already offering this option in the current year: from the second half of the year, Herzberger has delivered the first completely emission-free 16-ton Volvo FL Electric trucks with a range of up to 300 kilometers to its customers. Without having to take an investment risk, fleet operators can thus enter the field of electric mobility.

However, PEMA also has other alternative drives in its range: "For example, our customers can choose between LNG propulsion and the dual fuel system," explains PEMA’s Managing Director Peter Ström. The dual fuel system is based on the addition of LPG in the intake passage and hence reduces diesel consumption. With regard to city logistics with fixed tours, Ström sees good opportunities for LNG propulsion: "In the field of city logistics as well as in plant and regular traffic, fuel stops can be well planned. The very thin filling station network for LNG therefore hardly plays a role here."

The following video shows further sustainable concepts for city logistics which were presented at transport logistic 2019:

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Teaser image of YouTube video

By the way: Further information on DACHSER's and Fraunhofer IML's sustainable supply concepts can be found in our article “Sustainable urban logistics: concepts against urban collapse.”

More information?

You would like to learn more about the challenges and modern solutions for city logistics? For additional information, see also:

Developments & logistics concepts of the future: these are the current trends in logistics
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