Mechelen is developing inspiring collaborations

12 July 2022 - Published by Deirdre Buist
On 28 June Mechelen’s zero-emission working group met once again to discuss progress and recognize achievements so far on the road to their 2030 goals. The group includes all businesses and other stakeholders who have signed a covenant to collaborate on sustainable logistics solutions for the historic inner city.

Mechelen’s efforts are proving very successful, as is underlined once more by the increasing number of businesses officially signing this commitment to carbon reduction.  The group has most recently been joined by VPD, Foodsprint and Ziegler.

Strengthening the network

During the meeting,  Veerle de Meyer presented the city’s plans regarding charging points for electric vehicles, followed by an exchange of input from the participants. Veerle (left in the photo above): “The strength of these sessions is that all parties are involved and can provide input as logistics players to improve the livability of  our city.  We need to clarify what the stakeholders need, how they can contribute and what they see as the role of the Municipality in this process. Together we’re forming a strong network, which is of invaluable as we move forward. ”


Close collaboration during  a meeting of Mechelen's Zero-emission Covenant signatories

One example of the tangible effects of Mechelen's close interaction with stakholders can be witnessed during the reconstruction works currently underway in the Onze Lieve Vrouwestraat in the city centre. Redesigning this busy shopping street, with a view to becoming more pedestrian friendly and attractive, is having quite an impact on local businesses and the shopping public. Deliveries are difficult but sustainable, adaptive solutions have been jointly developed to alleviate some of the challenges.

Logistics alternative

The Municipality has created a logistics alternative together with a local delivery hub. This latest SURFLOGH pilot offers retailers the opportunity to have their goods delivered to CityDepot in Mechelen-Noord. The goods are then bundled and delivered using green transport modes - and free of charge - directly to the shop door. Businesses can also choose to collect their goods from the storage centre themselves.

In the  Onze-Lieve-Vrouwestraat, businessman with a passion  Piet Verlinden specializes in sleep comfort. He keenly accepted the offer and is very satisfied with this cooperation. Piet: “I chose to have my suppliers deliver our orders to the  CityDepot storage facility so that my own drivers can collect the mattrasses there to bring to the shop or directly to the customer. My suppliers are delighted that they no longer have to go into the city centre. It saves a lot of time and energy -  we now have  less stock and more useful space in the shop.”

Inspiring collaboration

Verlinden also admits that the roadworks and changes being made in the street, have also inspired him to think more about sustainable options for the future. He is now considering a permanent collaboration with CityDepot and is advising his colleagues to do the same.

Read more (in Dutch) about the delivery alternatives during the reconstruction of OLV in Mechelen  here.