Urban distribution of goods
The rise of e-commerce and the incorporation of shopping online by new, significant segments of the population has advanced development by up to 5 years. And this is here to stay.
Consumption in urban centres is rising. Logistic operators will have to find the right balance to be efficient in so-called “last mile” to satisfy customers with competitive delivery costs. Reverse logistics, intelligent and robotized warehouses, and segregation of proximity and half-rotation warehouses tied to large, hyperconnected logistic hubs are all coming back.
This growth of e-commerce will boost the demand for new logistic spaces, in two ways: on the one hand, the need for large logistic spaces and storage platforms in locations far from major cities will increase, and on the other, there will be an increased need for high-rotation cross docking last mile vessels located 5, 10, or 15 kilometres away from major cities.
This type of shipping is essential for the development of urban distribution due to its operativity, agility and contribution to the management of cities. In the same vein, we cannot forget the needs arising from reverse logistics. The management of returns is also a challenge arising from the growth of e-commerce and will also require an expansion of logistic surfaces.
The development of urban platforms for distribution, perceived as a network of e-systems to manage the delivery of goods on these urban distribution platforms in city centres, seems unstoppable.
And this will totally transform the scenario of the three types of logistic areas in big-city environments and the typologies of logistic ships and all types of warehouses: low-rotation, regional, high-rotation, capillary and urban distribution.
That is why the logistic parks linked to traditional consumption, those linked to e-commerce and now also those linked to this new urban distribution in big cities, will have to change. Warehouses will tend to be multi-valent for low rotation and high rotation, avoiding intermediate processes that increase costs and times by producing a flow between department stores away from city centres because of their low costs, their greater accessibility, etc., and over large surfaces, with urban distribution platforms in the centre of cities.
The introduction of new measures to improve the urban distribution of goods is complex, mainly because of the multiplicity of agents and sectors involved beyond e-commerce. As a result, private public collaboration is revealed as key to develop potential solutions.
Transport and logistic centres, public or private, play an important role in defining this new ecosystem, and we must collaborate to implement these new distribution and transport models. Public administrations should establish new regulations to ensure mobility and sustainability, and promoters of logistics centres should provide the necessary infrastructure. For best results, the work must be done from an integrative perspective.
Logistic centres play a dual role in this context: they are incorporated into urban-metropolitan territorial planning plans and programs because of the positive externalities generated by the following: by facilitating centralized distribution, reducing the number of vehicles on fleets and shortening the vehicle route, which eases congestion on urban road networks, and thus mitigates the emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases and also incorporates the real estate industry.