Last Mile Logistics in a Northern European City

Sundsvall, assisted by Trafikverket, has analysed the feasibility of developing a city logistics scheme with green credentials. A number of observations have been gathered through contacts with the forwarders, local businesses as well as real estate owners. Taken together the observations form a platform for further discussions on what elements a successful set up of a green logistics scheme in the centre of Sundsvall should feature.

The examples of city logistics from the leader cities in SMARTSET have provided insights in how those cities have designed their pilots. A key challenge is to come up with a business model that is financially self-sustaining without unduly punishing the businesses in the city centres or the forwarders. This is something that have become obvious during the course of the project and is also one of the most difficult issues to solve.

By self-sustaining is understood a logistics’ scheme that is not dependent on subsidies from the public or depedent of good will from the businesses. Although some kind of re-tuning of regulations and tariffs in favour of the use of cleaner vehicles and cooperation between forwarders on last leg distribution may be a useful kick in the right direction, the new business model should be perceived by the customers as being at least equivalent in cost and quality.

If an operator charges a higher cost than today he also has to deliver an added value to the customer. Regulatory schemes and bonus malus systems that are wrongly designed may jeopardise local businesses and result in dislocation to nearby external shopping centres. The work will now be handed over to a the regional chamber of commerce who has responded positively to a request from the Sundsvall/Trafikverket project team to take the lead in the continuation of the critical transport and logistic network that is the key to development of a green city logistics in Sundsvall after the termination of the SMARTSET project.

Tomas Widenfalk, City of Sundsvall