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Towards a renewal of urban logistics (Policy Brief 274 - April 2012)

Towards a renewal of urban logistics (Policy Brief 274 - April 2012)


Freight transportation, part of a complex supply chain, is marked by two destabilizing factors: climate change and rising energy prices. Thus, these realities require the industry to take practical measures to make it competitive in the industry as a whole, but also to conduct research in order to reduce impacts associated with the measures.

  • Towards a renewal of urban logistics

The city, a dense area of consumers, is the final step in a supply chain that includes many stakeholders (carriers, distributors, recipients, residents, local authorities, e-commerce players, etc..), However, the stakeholders’ objectives are not always compatible. As the last step in the chain, urban logistics is defined as a type of logistics that needs to convey the flow of goods entering, leaving and circulating in the city in the best conditions possible. A city is centered around housing (housing and land) and wealth (commercial) and therefore urban logistics must take into account the many diverse components such as land constraints, space, traffic congestion, economic and environmental concerns...  Urban logistics accounts for 20% of global transportation.

Furthermore, the increase in urban costs in providing transportation is not the only difficulty urban logistsics is faced with; it also generates emissions. According to the "Laboratory of transportation economics", urban freight transportation accounts for 9%-15% of traffic. Thus, even though this has been a concerning topic for forty years, it is clear that the solutions explored are only partially implemented, probably because of their cost, which should lead all the stakeholders in the chain to find new solutions for sustainable transportation of goods in cities.


  • The revival of urban logistics
  • City logistics: key to the competitiveness of urban areas
  • Innovative initiatives in sustainable urbaine logistics 
  • Author: Christine Raynard, Development of Sustainable Department.

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