Miebach Consulting

First results of the pilot tests within the European Union's urban logistics project ULaaDS


ULaaDS (Urban Logistics as an on-Demand Service) is an EU-funded project that started two years ago with the aim of making certain European cities more sustainable by relocating logistics activities and reconfiguring the flow of goods at different scales. This project is developed through a consortium that is composed of 24 entities related to various professional activities and of which Miebach Consulting is part as a logistics consulting representative.


The project is structured around seven urban logistics business models and schemes, piloted in Bremen, Groningen and Mechelen and replicated in other satellite cities (Alba Iulia, Bergen, Edinburgh and Rome). To date, several of these pilots have already been launched.


After a long period of remote communication due to the pandemic, two on-site visits to the cities of Groningen and Mechelen have been organized in recent months to see the different pilots in operation and to learn in detail about their SUMP (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan) concepts. Workshops were also held to analyze the different challenges faced during the implementation of the pilot tests, to present the conclusions and results obtained so far and to determine the next steps to be taken. Finally, the satellite cities that are part of the project consortium also had the opportunity to present solutions implemented in their area and exchange information with the rest of the project partners.



Two pilots have been initiated in this city:


  • Last mile containerization: this initiative aims to eliminate the use of delivery vans for the last mile. It consists of delivering packages to three microhubs located at different points in the city and from there deliveries to the customer with cargo bikes, which would normally be made with a van. These bicycles are containerized, so they can pick up pallet-sized containers and deliver them directly. This reduces handling time at the microhubs.


  • Replacing private vehicles with cargo bikes: the second pilot aims at "private micro-logistics" to make it easier for citizens to use cargo bikes to move or transport goods, avoiding the use of their private vehicles. Cargo bikes can be reserved and rented free of charge at participating host and partner stations, and they can be used for 24 hours.



This city in the Netherlands, which wants to turn its historic center into a zero-emission zone for logistics transport by 2025, has been the site of two ULaaDS pilot tests:


  • Shared clean vehicles: in collaboration with the Groningen City Club business consortium and a car rental company, business owners in the historic city center are offered zero-emission vehicles for rent at no additional cost: electric vans, various models of cargo bikes and a city carver (hybrid between motorcycle and car, see picture). This fleet of vehicles is at disposal to deliver goods or for reverse logistics to the stores or premises. The pilot is being launched and will run for six months. Through the reservation system and GPS data, the duration and times of use will be analyzed and, through surveys with users, their level of satisfaction and reason for use will be evaluated. Extrapolation of this data will show whether this solution can change the methodology of goods deliveries in the city center.


  • Multimodal Hub: The second pilot consists of the creation of a hub located on the outskirts of the city, which integrates parcel lockers or lockers for parcel collection, Park & Ride areas (car parking and connection point with public transport) and bike sharing stations. The services offered can be expanded with luggage storage areas, cafeterias, etc. The parcel lockers will be operational very soon, once the final security and surveillance issues have been resolved.


This Belgian city, which aims to reduce its logistics emissions in the city to zero by 2030, hosts two of the ULaaDS pilots:


  • Cargo-Hitching: this is the first autonomous vehicle that circulates in a public space combining the transport of passengers and goods. This vehicle can carry up to eight people and includes six compartments of different sizes where the packages to be delivered are placed. Despite being a pilot test of short duration (2 months, and the first one only to ensure the safe transport of passengers), the response from users has been positive. In total 300 people have used the service as transportation and 26 reservations have been made for the parcel compartments. The solution can work as a combined and collaborative business model between public transport and parcel service, especially in more remote areas.


  • Collaborative platform to organize the first mile with cargo bikes: this pilot has not yet been realized due to the complexity deriving from the collaboration between the different parties involved (small and medium companies and 3PL).


However, the ULaaDS consortium believes that this is already yielding two valuable conclusions: that sharing economy concepts are not yet mature enough to be implemented in real life, and that collaboration between direct competitors in urban logistics is difficult because they fear losing customers to each other.


Next Steps

The project team will focus on data collection to conduct both quantitative and qualitative evaluations of each of the pilot tests. Through surveys and data recording, their effects on logistics and traffic efficiency, space utilization, environmental and economic impact will be analyzed. These analyses are very important for assessing the continuity and viability of the initiatives.


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Wiebke Tillmanns

Senior Manager Marketing & PR

+49 69 273992-36

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