Market review on city freight distribution using inland waterways

10 June 2021 - Published by Tom Pauwels
AVATAR project partners Logistics Initiative Hamburg and POM Oost-Vlaanderen prepared an overview of cases of city freight distribution via inland waterways, whereby the vessel either enters the city, arrives close to the city or operates completely within an urban context.

The AVATAR project aims to deploy zero-emission automated vessels that can do regular trips between the urban consolidation centers outside of a city and inner city hubs, focusing on the distribution of palletized goods and waste return.

The focus in the paper is on existing examples (operational as well as pilots), but concepts are also included. This market review will give inspiration to the business cases that will be developed later on within the AVATAR project. It should be seen in the framework of defining the necessary conditions that lead to a long-term (sustainable) uptake of the developed concepts in the AVATAR project.

This paper focuses on aspects of the economic feasibility of city freight distribution using inland waterways. In order to identify, set up and calculate economic viability and business cases within the project framework of AVATAR, it is necessary to carry out a market review on city freight distribution cases using inland waterways.

The cases included in this report are based on desk-research and available (online) sources. Examples of city freight distribution are shown with following characteristics:

- Goods are delivered in the city, return flows leave the city;

- A part of the trajectory is carried out by an inland vessel;

- The inland vessel enters the city (main focus) or the vessel is loaded/unloaded near the city center (case by case selection for market review);

- The inland waterway is running through the city or close to it;

- Last mile in the city could be an option;

- European examples are collected;

- Inland vessels arriving in a main port close to the city are not included.

The cases are grouped into five categories (based on the main transported type of goods): building logistics, parcel logistics, retail logistics, waste logistics as well as mixed use cases.

The report is available via this link.




Source of the photo(s) on the cover: https://www.powertechsystems.eu/ (top left photo), https://civitas.eu/ (top right photo), https://www.researchgate.net/, photo by J. Leonardi (bottom left photo), DHL (bottom right photo)