LEVA Europe

Research shows importance of comprehensive approach of urban B2C distribution

In this paper, the authors have investigated the cost structure of different scenarios for urban B2C distribution in Antwerp. They generated demand on the basis of a real-world dataset and computed delivery routes with realistic cost values. By the comparison of different scenarios, they found that external costs, related to the transportation with delivery vans, account for 18%–28% of the operational costs. Also, they showed that the parcel delivery market is unbalanced in the sense that small Logstic Service Providers (LSPs) have higher operational costs per delivery than a large LSP. Those operational costs can be reduced by stimulating self-pick-up, at the expense of rising external costs. Reversely, a bike delivery system can significantly reduce external costs but slightly increases the costs of LSPs.

Consequently, neither self-pick-up nor bike deliveries alone seem to be beneficial for all stakeholders. However, a combination of both concepts, fueled by the implementation of additional delivery points, represents a B2C delivery system that improves the quality of life in Antwerp and is also appealing to LSPs. The efficiency of such a delivery system could be further enhanced if, for instance, multiple LSPs collaborate and execute and plan the last-mile delivery jointly to make use of the economy-of-scales effect that the authors have observed.

These results highlight the importance of looking at urban B2C distribution from a global perspective. Several stakeholders are involved that follow different goals and strategies. Public authorities have no incentive to support the introduction of self-pick-up and, likewise, an LSP will be rather unwilling to consider a bike delivery system when facing higher variable costs. However, these arguments arise from an isolated perspective, and they change if stakeholders look for alternatives jointly.

The full article is here.

Annick Roetynck

Annick is the Manager of LEVA-EU, with decades of experience in two-wheeled and light electric mobility.

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Annick Roetynck

Annick is the Manager of LEVA-EU, with decades of experience in two-wheeled and light electric mobility.


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