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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article31 March 20231 min read

Urban Logistics solutions for the last-mile delivery problem

The rapid growth of e-commerce, the on-demand economy, and the associated surge in shipments, are escalating traffic and environmental pollution in cities. This reinforces the need for new and effective urban logistics concepts, not to mention ever-increasing customer demands, service improvements required to satisfy these demands, the desire for flexibility, and the growing importance of sustainability for companies and their value creation.

ULaaDS project partner Miebach Consulting alongside JLL and the Research Lab Urban Transport (ReLUT) of Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences conducted a study at the beginning of 2023 to identify and examine new urban logistics trends.

Two main concepts were explored in the study:

  1. Urban Consolidation Centres (UCCs)
  2. Micro Hubs

The survey received 284 responses from manufacturers, retailers, and logistics service providers and two key messages were taken from the survey:

  • Urban logistics concepts are on-trend - A large proportion (approximately 70%) of the companies participating in the survey can see themselves using urban logistics concepts like UCCs and Micro Hubs in the near future. Other concepts such as pick-up stations are seen as a future trend.
  • Urban logistics concepts provide a competitive advantage - new concepts should be applied to meet ever-changing cities and their related challenges. The competitiveness of companies will benefit if the supply chain is improved in terms of sustainability and meeting increasing customer demands to deal with the current trend in urban populations in a meaningful way.

It was also found that one of the major barriers to urban logistics concepts is the coordination effort. Any solution always implicit a huge variety of stakeholders involved, even sometimes with clashing objectives.

Another risk for the successful implementation of these concepts is cost. A lack of standardisation and a high amount of manual handling tasks raise the costs per freight unit. Other risks include the possible rapid change in consumers’ purchasing behaviour and socio-political risks.

Read more about these two solutions to the last-mile delivery problem in the latest ULaaDS insight here.



Publication date
31 March 2023
  • Urban freight/city logistics
  • Europe-wide