Property Week’s logistics market census highlights the industry’s growth in the face of mounting pressures on available land and rising costs (07.09.18).

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Urban logistics operators prefer sites that offer a 30-minute drive time to access inner cities

The UK tops the list of the most traffic-congested EU cities and urban deliveries now represent up to 50% of supply chain costs. Coupled with the significance of congestion on HGV emissions – the cost of which is calculated at £1 per minute – urban logistics operators prefer sites that offer a 30-minute drive time to access inner cities.

Additionally, many of our cities are not sympathetic to the deliveries that service increasing consumer expectations, such as next-day or same-day deliveries.

To address these concerns, the UK should take inspiration from Europe, where sustainable urban logistics plans (SULPs) offer an effective, integrated approach that embeds logistics strategies into the overall urban mobility policy of a city.

Taking a bottom-up approach, SULPs start with user needs and operator requirements with early implementation of what are termed ‘hard’ measures, such as load consolidation and delivery zones, and ‘soft’ measures including regulatory changes and reverse logistics.

In Paris, SULPs restored the logistical importance of the city’s many waterways. In the UK, much of the Victorian pre-railway infrastructure survives and the canal network represents under-used transport corridors that are starting to provide innovative solutions for deliveries.

Plans for new settlements offer a fantastic opportunity to consider the efficient flow of goods, right from the outset. Using SULPs to shape urban environments through well-thought-out infrastructure and strategically located facilities, operating within an efficacious regulatory framework, will undoubtedly assist in the government’s push for greater productivity and sustainability.

Ben Taylor, planning director, Barton Willmore

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