SURFLOGH Final Conference

12 April 2023 - Published by Deirdre Buist
March 28th marked the moment. It was time for SURFLOGH to present the consortium’s results and key learnings as the project nears its closure date. For this special occasion, the partners joined forces with ULaaDs, a sister logistics project, during a dual event hosted in the impressive building of the Chambers of Commerce in Bremen, Germany. Both SURFLOGH and ULaaDs have been prioritizing green logistics in urban environments over the past years.

It has become increasingly clear that a high quality of life in cities, coupled with a commitment to environmental sustainability, is strongly linked to the organization of transportation (for both people and goods).  The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen is a forerunner in sustainable mobility, with a high percentage of sustainable modes and the lowest NO2-levels of all German cities. An inspirational location for our final meeting!


Official start at the office of Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Mobility Urban and Housing Development

ULaaDs study trip

It was an early and active start for approximatley 70 participants as the SURFLOGH Final Conference and ULaaDs (Urban Logistics as an on-Demand Service) study trip kicked off with an on-site visit to witness the workings of a mini delivery hub in  in the centre of Bremen. This is one of the ULaaDs trials for last mile deliveries using  cargo bikes. ULaaDs was launched in 2020 and brings together 24 partners, including city authorities, research institutions, industry and logistics stakeholders, associations, and networks to support the deployment of innovative, feasible, shared, and zero-emission solutions.

A short walk then took us to the office of the Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Mobility Urban and Housing Development for an official welcome.


Delegates tour the city of Bremen to visit sustainable logistics intitiatives

The rest of the morning was dedicated to a tour of Bremen by bike, electric bus, and later by tram, to visit a number of project initiatives which included:

  • An introduction to ADFC “Fietje” cargo bike sharing station and system
  • Cambio Car- Sharing-Station Lübeck; E-Mobil and site of second micro depot
  • Visit to Cellumation with a presentation of “celluveyor” (modular conveyor technology for use in micro depots). 


SURFLOGH presents

SURFLOGH stood main stage in the beautiful building of the Chambers of Commerce during the afternoon session, as partners from each region power-pitched their pilots, successes and main take-aways. 

Pilots have formed the backbone of SURFLOGH and a range of trials were undertaken during the course of the project focusing on efficient and sustainable logistics solutions, including the following:

  • Installation of city hub + last mile cargo bikes/courier service from different perspectives
  • Consolidated ZE deliveries in shopping street under construction/
  • Consolidation within waste management/ with electric vehicles
  • A smart locker network
  • Last mile delivery with small autonomous vehicles and drones
  • Parcel delivery lockers at public transport hubs (also in more rural areas)
  • Cycle logistics – the partnership business model
  • City friendly parcel deliveries
  • Construction and service logistics

Learning by doing

The partners have created a full overview of the pilots in an insightful ‘magazine’ of fact sheets: Learning by Doing - From theory to practice. This document provides a short description of each pilot concept, the process and progress, which partners were involved and, of course, the results and lessons learned.

Top 10 takeaways:

  • Develop a shared ambition with reliable partners
  • Containerization is key for the business case
  • Emphasize the benefits for retailers
  • Find a balance between formulating policy measures and trying to influence the market
  • Establish a forum for stakeholders – develop a freight network, find common ground
  • Obtain a good understanding of the business perspectives among stakeholder groups
  • Allow for the long term perspective and relevance to city development goals and policies
  • Persevere –behavioural  change takes time within the transport and logistics sector
  • Identify the user cases where custom service generates most value and prioritize these
  • Be flexible – innovation also means being able to adapt and change.

What's more, it’s good to know that sustainable and city-friendly delivery is highly appreciated by customers! Habits and attitudes have already altered significantly during the project's lifespan.  


SURFLOGH partners present results and key learnings

Finding creative solutions

Following SURFLOGH’s shared insights  and plenary discussions, the participants divided into groups to brainstorm on creative  solutions for four pre-defined challenges:

  1. From an Innovative pilot to a commercially viable project/service
  2. Selecting the right location/setting up hubs and micro-hubs (real estate, land use etc.)
  3. Effective public policy (carrot/stick) and soft controls (storytelling) to set the right framework
  4. Cooperation with logistics service providers in a local setting (with local partners).

The day closed with an animated and interactive knowledge exchange amongst the delegates as each group presented their findings.

Achieved goals & strong ties

As is often the case, this last SURFLOGH partner meeting also had an emotional undertone as our close collaboration during the course of the project has resulted not only in jointly achieved goals… but also in deeper connections and froendships. With such strengthened ties and an expanded network in the field of sustainable urban logistics, we have good hopes for some future reunion.

 Read Surflogh Pilot Projects: Learning by Doing – from theory to practice.

Top photo: On-site visit to mini delivery hub in the centre of Bremen