Striking while hot!

12 May 2020 - Published by Deirdre Buist
A direct result of the Covid-19 lockdown across Europe has been the undeniable positive impact of social isolation and limited heavy transport on air quality in our city centres. The heightened awareness amongst the general public has energized those – like the Surflogh consortium – already pushing for sustainable solutions for urban logistics. Striking while the iron is hot, more supply chains are implementing or intensifying their green logistic options.

This unprecedented situation offers not just challenges but also opportunities to reiterate and emphasize the urgent need to tackle CO2 emissions and improve our living environment - now. Despite the imposed restrictions, Surflogh partners have not been still. Following a quick post-lockdown inventory, there are some news nuggets to share.


Joint commitment

On the 28th of April our Belgian partners held an online workshop with more than 40 stakeholders to discuss next steps in their Zero Emissions Strategy for city distributions in Mechelen. During this meeting an initial design for a covenant was received with great enthousiasm by all. There are many consultation forums on local, regional and national level, but the City of Mechelen has been complimented on their concrete approach and on being a frontrunner with a clear vision and strategic plan.

The exact content of this covenant will be filled in during the coming period. Aim is to present a joint commitment to radically reducing CO2 emissions in the inner city of Mechelen as all parties sign this during a stakeholders’ conference, as yet still planned for September.

Critical mass

In Groningen they discovered that the dark cloud of Corona also has a silver lining. The success of Dropper, the bike-delivery service pilot supported by the municipality’s Surflogh partner, has rocketed! With current measures impacting the cities restaurants directly, everyone is looking for creative solutions. Dropper’s turnover has more than doubled as their business volumes exploded and the point of critical mass - for this and other green delivery innitiatives - has been surpassed, making them economically viable and self-sustaining.

Business as usual?

The Swedish approach to tackling the pandemic has been less stringent in comparison to other countries. In Boras it’s almost ’business as usual’ for  their  freight distribution pilot, and the goods volumes have been quite consistent during this memorable spring. However, the start of the pick-up service for recycling material has had to be postponed until late May due to uncertainties regarding staffing at the operating company and delays in the production of their vehicle due to Corona.

The present situation has impacted the planned expansion of the Good Goods partner/customer base as a result of shifting business priorities, but the demand for home deliveries has increased significantly. This could serve to strengthen some aspects of the Good Goods concept. So, with some adaptations, there are clearly opportunities to extend this green logistics plan  to include local home distribution,  integrated with a suitable digital marketplace.

Watch out, there are more updates to follow.