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How to improve the last mile of logitics (in German)

Presentation of project results "Last-Mile-Logistics Hamburg"

Metropolises like Hamburg are increasingly facing challenges in terms of supplying their inhabitants with goods and services. New and efficient concepts are needed, especially for the logistics of the "last mile" until the customer holds his goods in his hands. A study commissioned by the Ministry of Economics, Transport and Innovation and carried out under the direction of Prof. Dr. Jan Ninnemann of the Hamburg School of Business Administration (HSBA) examines the model project of the UPS micro-hub concept. Here, inner-city interim storage facilities are being tested.

The Hamburg UPS project is the first major and successful test of a logistics concept in Germany using load bicycles in parcel delivery. It is rightly regarded as a pioneering concept for other cities - not only in Germany, but also internationally - which is why it is known as the 'Hamburg Model' even in the USA. In the opinion of the experts, further efforts are needed to continue on the path taken to position Hamburg as a model city for future, sustainable and integrated urban mobility.

Experience from a large number of projects shows that the political will to implement innovative ideas and concepts quickly often fails due to different responsibilities. Against this background, the evaluators recommend that a last-mile coordinator be appointed to act as a contact person for all questions relating to the "last mile" issue. In addition to the necessary coordination with the authorities, the coordinator's main tasks are considered to be cooperation with the ongoing SMILE project of the Hamburg Logistics Initiative. "We are well on the way to becoming a model region for Smart Last Mile Logistics (SMILE)," emphasises Frank Horch, Senator for Economics, Transport and Innovation of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. "This includes innovative concepts like the recently tested micro-depots in the city centre. As one of the most dynamic logistics locations in Europe with unbroken growth potential, we want to master the change to sustainable mobility and metropolitan logistics through innovative approaches".

The idea of using containers as interim storage facilities in the city centre goes back to a pilot project of the UPS parcel service in 2012. At that time, a container was placed at the back of the Alsterhaus. Drivers were, among other things, the goal of reducing CO2 and avoiding traffic congestion. The project was initiated by the city centre merchants united in the Business Improvement District (BID). The Mitte District Office was involved in the search for container sites and the approval process. The pilot project officially started in 2015 with three more containers around the Binnenalster.

The depot containers are brought to their storage location in the morning by truck. From there, the messengers distribute the parcels on foot and with cargo bicycles. For heavy parcels, they use sack trucks. In the past, these inner city areas were supplied by nine vehicles. The drivers had to stop up to 120 times per tour to deliver the parcels at the front door, often in the second row. After the test phase, the Ministry of Economics, Transport and Innovation commissioned the study presented today from the HSBA.

The pilot project for testing sustainable solutions for delivery traffic was limited to two years from the outset in order to avoid a long-term, negative impact on the quality of stay in public spaces. The existing model with containers as micro-depots was designed as a temporary solution to pave the way for new last-mile concepts. In order to realise these as quickly as possible, it is recommended to enter quickly into the process of finding new locations for potential micro-depots. Since there will in all probability only be limited space available in public areas for this purpose, the provision of logistics properties that meet the requirements and strengthen alternative last mile delivery concepts is an important prerequisite for entry. Possible options here include areas in multi-storey car parks, local transport stops or waterways. The question of the role of urban project developers is also particularly important in this context.

In the course of the study, a large number of individual measures to optimise delivery logistics on the last mile were identified and evaluated. These include measures such as the promotion of neutral delivery or collection solutions, the integration of innovative custody solutions, but also the streamlining of the existing regulatory framework. Promising measures must be identified and tested in model districts such as the "New Centre Altona" or the development area Schleusengraben in Bergedorf.

"In order to position Hamburg as a model city for future, sustainable and integrated urban mobility, it is not only necessary to develop and designate new logistics areas and implement new delivery concepts. Rather, settlement aspects also play an important role for a model location. In addition to companies from the fields of online trade and e-commerce logistics, the focus should also be on technology providers and start-ups with an affinity for the CEP market. The Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg offers an excellent platform for this," says Prof. Ninnemann. The ongoing digitalisation is also playing an increasingly important role in CEP logistics in order to optimise delivery processes and improve service quality.

©Logistics Initiative Hamburg/ Andreas Fromm