How cities can involve freight operators in policy-making? Debate in Antwerp

On 23 August 2019, Giacomo Lozzi, member of TRElab Urban Freight coordinator at Polis, participated in the policy session panel at the Urban logistics Summer School of the University of Antwerp.

The students got involved in an exchange with experts from the field. Giacomo Lozzi, Stefan Bottu (VIL), Patrick Vermeulen (GLS Belgium), Jasper Van Den Berghen (Departement Mobiliteit en Openbare Werken – Vlaamse overheid) and Steven Van Den Bosch (DHL Express België) took part in the debate.

Different topics were discussed by the experts, through an interactive exchange with the summer school participants.

In particular, it was discussed how cities can involve operators in the definition of a more effective and harmonised regulation. This presupposes the sharing of some principles of environmental, social and economic sustainability between the public and private sectors, collaborative spirit, and incentives and nudges by local authorities to promote virtuous behavior and the use of low emission vehicles, such as cargo bikes and electric vans and trucks.

As for the use of shared infrastructure (micro-hubs, parcel lockers, etc.) and the sharing of data on logistics flows by operators, they have already expressed their availability and in some cases even implemented great examples of cooperation, for example in the context of the Flanders Logistics Institute (VIL) projects. However, there is a need for an independent third party, such as the local authority supported by the academic sector, which can play a key role by storing and processing data guaranteeing anonymity and privacy, and which dedicates space and infrastructure (scarce and expensive in inner cities) to urban logistics.

The City Logistics Living Lab, offering a dynamic and participatory environment built to test innovative solutions in real-life contexts, is a powerful tool in the hands of cities to hear all stakeholder views, set common goals, co-create ‘out of box’ solutions and agree actions. A great example was presented by Dr. Anne Goodchild, from the University of Washington, which launched the Urban Freight Lab of Seattle in 2016.

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