Last mile logistics: Our cities need low-emission vehicles

Taking advantage of the LIVE platform’s participation in Barcelona’s eShow 2016 on March 16th, we would like to compare different data on last mile logistics. At the same time, we also wish to highlight some keys to improving inner-city goods distribution management.

In developed societies, an increasing percentage of the population lives in big cities. According to forecasts, by 2030 about 60% of the world population will be concentrated in these big metropolises. This means an increasing density of traffic, which will become a problem that, in turn, causes many secondary ones. Given this situation, we would like to draw attention to the issue of freight transport and what, in logistics, is called the last mile: the final part of the journey by delivery vehicles from their logistics centre to the good’s final destination.

We are all aware of the need to respond to this problem in our cities with efficient solutions. To gain an idea in figures, in 2015, according to the WHS, over twelve million people died in the world as a result of atmospheric pollution, with CO2 being the main cause of lung and bladder cancer. Goods vehicles account for 25% of these emissions and they represent half the diesel-operated vehicles in our cities.

One of the answers is to introduce low-emission vehicles, like electric vans, lorries that run on natural gas, and electric bikes and motorbikes. Goods delivery companies that decide to make the move to this kind of vehicle will see a drop in many related costs and growing customer appreciation. They are vehicles that require less maintenance, while also benefitting from special parking spaces and loading areas, access to restricted areas of cities, and subsidies from the authorities. They also make a big media impact, in addition to helping to forge a good reputation in terms of corporate social responsibility and positioning companies better in relation to their rivals. These vehicles also draw more attention, and so they give companies a more modern image as a user of new technologies.

E-commerce is a booming sector that uses this kind of ‘goods management system’. 75% of the world population is estimated to have made at least one Internet purchase and, by 2016, according to forecasts, e-commerce will have penetrated 46.4% of the world market. Companies like Amazon are already looking at sustainable systems of managing their deliveries and they are carrying out tests with drones. Another example is Redyser, which has taken a big step forward by purchasing the sustainable delivery company Emakers.

It is clear to everyone that diesel-operated vehicles and other highly pollutant ones will one day form part of the past, but unfortunately they are still a part of everyday life for the moment. Institutions and businesses must take the first step forward by demanding and offering more sustainable services so that our cities are more sustainable healthier places to live.