Freight Perspectives from Amsterdam

While in the Netherlands we had two different conversations about freight. The first was with Amsterdam city planners and is the focus of this post. The second was with a freight forwarder and a representative of the Holland International Distribution Council (a trade association) and will be covered in a later post.

In the dense urban environment in Amsterdam, planners have a number of goals for freight distribution:

– improve accessibility be reducing the number of vehicles
– reduce ‘delivery nuisance’ for residents and road users
– increase loading rates
– reduce vehicle kilometers (and therefore fuel use)
– net neutral effect on economic health

Some of the techniques for doing this:

– Require vehicles be at least 80% loaded before starting delivery trips
– Limit length of delivery vehicles to 10 meters
– Create age and environmental standards for vehicles

They report that it’s working, without negative impacts on the economy.

Amsterdam is developing additional concepts to streamline urban deliveries:

– A “city box”, a container that is one-third the size of a standard container, but can be bundled in triplets as a standard container for rail or sea shipments
– Neighborhood package delivery stations, where you can securely retrieve your package, avoiding the need for a delivery directly to your door
– Programs to cluster deliveries for nearby retailers (e.g., the drugstore and the hardware store get a consolidated delivery, avoiding extra delivery trips)

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