Lockdown & Lockers

13 July 2020 - Published by Deirdre Buist
As many EU countries are gradually easing the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions for the summer, the Surflogh partners in Drenthe are preparing ahead for the autumn. With some valuable insights from the past months they have concrete plans and creative ideas. Social distancing, lockdown and lockers…there’s a link.

The Province of Drenthe, in a follow-up to their feasibility testing of a goods hub at the regional airport GAE in Eelde, is now initiating a locker project. Rolf Meerbach is the project’s content manager for Drenthe: “We’ve been really inspired by our partners’ locker pilot in Mechelen and are eager to test the possibilities in our own area.” Discussions had already taken place before the lockdown, but recent events have certainly speeded up the process.

Rolf: “We’ve selected three potential locker locations – all at town or village transport hubs - and plan to start this service in Drenthe in September or October. Our emphasis is on facilitating and enabling the cooperation between local businesses and logistics services. One idea is for local (and more rural) businesses to use the lockers as a delivery point, so that they can expand their market. We’re discussing this option with the local business association and an initiative that delivers local produce.“


Delivery lockers

Medication collection point

There are many creative ideas, including an option as a deposit/collection point for medication. During the Corona lockdown, prescription chemists in the Netherlands hastily set up in-store systems to ensure there is no physical contact– particularly as their clients are often high-risk. But country practitioners with their own (at home) dispensaries cannot realistically provide similar safety measures - and a 24-hour distribution service. Considering the unpredictability of future personal mobility, delivery and collection via lockers offers many benefits for all concerned.


During the course of the pilot, which will run for at least a year, Drenthe will carry out an impact research together with the University of Groningen, to see if such a service actually results in less transport movements (e.g. delivery vans in towns and villages). The effect on road safety and emissions will be surveyed, as well as the experiences of both end-users and participating businesses.

New normal

Whether we like it or not, social distancing is part of the ‘new normal’ for the unforeseeable future, meaning more online consumerism. Lockers, goods hubs, cargo-bikes and Light Electric Vehicles can all contribute to reducing CO2 emissions as we adapt to this new situation and work on a sustainable living environment. Sharing experiences and knowledge is essential. Cooperation is key, not just in fighting the current pandemic but also in developing future-proof solutions.


The Surflogh consortium continues to jointly develop these green solutions for urban (and sometimes more rural) logistics.