Cross Chain Control Collaboration (4C)

Sustainable urban distribution can grow more quickly

Sustainable urban distribution is growing. Companies like Cargohopper and Binnenstadservice have managed to entirely independently develop a business model that is profitable. Even so, there is a desire for government steering in the sense of rules and legislation, both at municipal and national levels. This became apparent during the annual congress for the Top Sector Logistics on April 1 in the Doelen in Rotterdam.

The congress ‘Mapping the future of logistics’ with its 900 participants was fully booked. Aad Veenman, figurehead for the Top Sector Logistics, opened the day through summarizing the past, present and future of Dutch logistics. He believes that logistics has justifiably been labelled as a top sector. However, Veenman also warned that collaboration within the triple helix of companies, government and knowledge institutes is extremely important if the Netherlands is to retain its knowledge and innovation advantage and, with this, retain its international top position.

Breakout sessions

Collaboration was also present in the follow-up program. This comprised breakout sessions about data mining, 4C in the circular economy, e-fulfilment and synchromodal transport. During the ‘Logistics on the cutting edge of accessibility, sustainability and competition’ session, a lively discussion took place about the opportunities and challenges for urban distribution and the synergy of market and government. Distribution in the last mile is blossoming thanks to population growth and the arrival of web shops. At the same time, requirements are increasing, especially in the areas of quality of life and environment. Companies like Cargohopper and Binnenstadservice have created their own dedicated business model. They are the living proof that the market has an answer to contemporary demands; through the bundling of deliveries and electric transport for instance.

Government as the driving force
Even so, during the breakout session in the room the prevailing conviction was that sustainable city distribution can grow more quickly if government were to actively collaborate and act as a driving force. Local government authorities are essential for creating legal and policy frameworks, the creation of scale and space for distribution hubs at the edge of the city. Unfortunately, many government authorities lack the knowledge for the development of an integrated strategy that creates clarity for market parties, claimed Goos Kant from Ortec: “Too often, measures are taken that are not very useful. Matters need to be organized nationally too, because it is not practical to get around the table with every municipality.” Cargohopper added that rules can be different for each municipality and even vary for different types of transport. If the direction takes place centrally, fragmentation is prevented and sustainable city distribution can grow more quickly, believes Kant: “The VNG seems like a logical party to me, but they have not yet responded.” Not a direct call for action, but who is willing to take up the gauntlet as a central authority?

Mapping the Future of Logistics
Mapping the Future of Logistics is the first annual congress for the Top Sector Logistics. The congress was organized on April 1 by Connekt and Dinalog, NWO and TNO. It was announced during the annual congress that the three last mentioned will bundle their logistics activities from the summer of 2015 in the Top Consortium Knowledge and Innovation (TKI) Logistics.

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