Sustainable deliveries – why wait?

03 February 2021 - Published by Deirdre Buist
Stakeholder engagement is key to the success of our green logistics transition. So, it is important to know and understand the various drivers that motivate and get people on board. Our Belgian partners Roos Lowette and Veerle De Meyer from the City of Mechelen had a chat with one of the shop owners participating in their latest Surflogh city logistics pilot.

‘For ladies with a punch and men with style’ – that’s how the clothing shop Poulain Carmin in the centre of Mechelen presents itself. Store manager Brigitte Buelens is an embodiment of her own tagline. When Surflogh colleagues asked her to join a trial on city logistics, she didn’t think twice.


No brainer

Brigitte explains why: “Mechelen offered me a free trial to lower the logistics burden the city is currently facing and I thought why wait? The deal was that my supplies would be delivered to a hub just outside the city centre, instead of right in front of my shop door. From the city hub, I’d receive more consolidated deliveries - by cargo bike and whenever it suited me best during the day. I loved the idea right away! I think it’s so important for a city to think about these matters, so off course I joined the trial.

I let all my suppliers know that I wanted to change my delivery address, made arrangements with the bike couriers and that was that. Easy!”


How has this retailer’s experience with the city hub deliveries been so far?

“I can mostly see advantages. It’s much easier and less disruptive to receive my parcels in one go instead of three or four times a day. And, it’s only a detail but, it’s the same person doing the deliveries every day … I noticed I really like that. I can also choose to receive my deliveries whenever it suits me best. Come to think of it, an arranged time slot turned out to be extremely handy during the Covid related lockdowns as many international suppliers were still active and posting out parcels, but I wasn’t in the shop all day.

Personal motivation

Of course, for me it goes without saying: the biggest advantage is the positive contribution to the city’s living environment. I find it sad to see that so many other retailers still choose the ‘ease’ of front door deliveries above the environmental benefits. Wouldn’t it be great to have a city centre with much fewer vans and trucks, fumes and traffic jams? I’m a mother too and I’d love to see a safer city for kids aswell.  I'm sure most parents would agree with me on this.”

Critical mass

Brigitte Beulens can only see one disadvantage to participating in this trial. It won’t be subsidized forever. “Then it all comes down to the same basic business principle of critical mass: the more retailers that join this service, the cheaper and the more effective it becomes.”

Enabling & engaging

Whether economically, environmentally, professionally or personally motivated…there is an urgent need to intensifying sustainable logistics efforts in urban environments, so why wait? The Surflogh consortium continues support by enabling pilot initiatives and remaining engaged with their stakeholders.