Mechelen meets Stakeholders

29 October 2018 - Published by Deirdre Buist
The Conference Centre Lamot in Mechelen was the stage for the Belgian partner’s Surflogh Kick-Off meeting on 18th September. The purpose of this kick-off was to further engage various stakeholders, allowing them to join forces in workshops on different themes in the field of smart urban logistics, such as collaboration, space and technology.

As an active partner in the Surflogh project, Mechelen focuses on the development of a pilot project through intensive participation with many different actors. These were all present at the evening event. Shop and restaurant owners, representatives of several (food) delivery companies as well as research experts on logistics and city delegates collaborated during a brainstorm session, to give input for a valuable pilot project. A lot of efficiency can be gained through smarter cooperation and consolidation.

“Sometimes the same delivery company comes to my store twice a day”

Many shop owners raised the issue of multiple deliveries. In some cases they had to sign for packages more than ten times on the same day. As Peter Defreyne from Ixor mentioned: “The delivery frequency is way too high, and s someone always needs to be present. This costs a lot of time and money. There just has to be a way to do this more efficiently.”

However, as became clear during the workshops, this is less self-evident for restaurants and food stores as they have to comply with strict regulations regarding temperature monitoring etc. Also, large delivery companies don’t want their packages to be handled through other partners, as this interferes with their internal tracking systems. Another disadvantage seemed to be that a lot of deliveries are still being done by small companies, none of which were present at the kick-off, because they are difficult to find.


However, all parties present seemed to agree on one theme: sustainability. Several options were defined, such as use of cleaner vehicles through implementation of low-emission zones, organizing consolidation points for small deliveries and setting up a reliable local food delivery service with the cooperation of businesses in Mechelen. The most important message from the various companies was that the initiative or policy framework for any of these initiatives had to be taken up by the City.

 Following some intense discussions, a well-deserved cooling down was provided afterwards. It was a very fruitful evening where a lot of relevant ideas were shared, and valuable connections were made.