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When you walk through the a big city you will probably see a delivery van passing by on every corner of the street, as a growing number of delivery vehicles choke their streets. This obviously has a big impact for the environment and with the European Union’s climate targets, we expect a lot of new transport restrictions for now and in the future.

We at 20Bananas would like to prepare you for these changes and have therefore collected 5 new urban distribution trends for this blog.

The climate goals of the European Union

In Barcelona, the figures speak for themselves: vans account for 23% of private vehicles in the city and are responsible for 31% of suspended particulate matter and 34% of nitrogen oxides attributable to mobility (El periodico, 2022). For some, life has become more convenient as companies like Inc. offer free next-day shipping and services such as Uber Eats promote rapid food delivery. But with this convenience comes a cost. Cities around the world are suffering from transport related problems such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, congestion, air and noise pollution, traffic accidents, and damage to infrastructure such as road networks

Europe must reduce CO2 emissions by 55 percent in 2030 compared to 1990 and in 2050 Europe should become the first climate-neutral continent: the European Union should then no longer contribute to global warming through the emission of greenhouse gasses. Tackling the environmental, economic and social impact of climate change requires a huge transformation across all sectors. This means that there are a variety of challenges that distribution centers will encounter now of in the future. We did some research and came up with the biggest new urban distribution trends:

  • Timeslot
  • Introduction of more low and zero-emission zones
  • More Regulatory measures
  • Sharing delivery capacity with partners
  • Transitioning to zero emission vans and trucks

1. Timeslot

In the case of Barcelona, Carlos López Lois, head of the City Council’s mobility strategy department, said during one of the debates that “they will study regulating distribution so that it does not coincide with school start and finish times”. This is one of the actions being carried out in the superblock of the Sant Antoni neighbourhood and the results suggest that it could be exportable to other parts of the city. In the superblock area, loading and unloading must take place from 9.30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and for a maximum of 30 minutes. The delivery of goods on bicycles, cargo cycles or on foot, on the other hand, is allowed at any time (La vanguardia, 2022).

2. Introduction of more low and zero-emission zones

As of today, just Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville (among cities within Spain) have Low Emissions Zones in place. As an example, the whole city of Barcelona is within the Low Emission Zone (ZBE) for the city. Most Spanish cities will be implementing low-emission zones within their borders in 2023. Spanish municipalities with 50,000 residents or more have to implement zones. In addition to those core cities, any city with more than 20,000 residents and episodes of high pollution also has to implement low-emission zones (Clean technica, 2022).

In addition to low emission zones, there is a ZEZ (Zero Emission Zone) zone, such as in Madrid, with more stringent restrictions. A ZEZ is an area where only Zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), pedestrians, and cyclists are granted unrestricted access. Other vehicles are either prohibited from entering or permitted to enter upon payment of a fee.

3. More Regulatory measures

More Regulatory measures (also called “command and control measures”) are rules and prohibitions designed to control the activities of private freight operators in order to preservethe liveability of the urban environment and to guarantee an adequate level of mobility. These kinds of measures must be supported by a control/enforcement system in order to prevent possible infractions. Examples of these kinds of measures can be grouped into the following sub-sets: time access restrictions, parking regulations, environment restrictions, size/load access restrictions, freight traffic-flow.

4. Sharing delivery capacity with partners

I just told you about the more size/load access restrictions above. A solution to get a higher shipment density is to cooperate intensively with parties who have to deliver similar goods in the respective zero-emission area. To find suitable co-shippers, there are matchmaking tools (such as Compose) that can help in finding other suitable parties.

Provinces and sector organisations also sometimes organise network meetings for this purpose. However, in this form of cooperation, there are some data issues to be addressed: distribution plans must be shared and merged and, again, current and correct information about the operation must be shared transparently. In addition, in such a cooperation or community platform you want to be able to indicate with whom you do, but also with whom you definitely do not want to cooperate;

5. Transitioning to zero emission vans and trucks

With the upcoming trend for more zero emission zones we also have to transition to zero emission vans and trucks. In November 2020, the Prime Minister put the UK on course to be the fastest nation to decarbonise cars and vans, announcing that all new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be phased out by 2030. Zero emission vehicles will improve air quality in our towns and cities, and offer cleaner and convenient driving for all. Besides the environment it will also benefits your business. Electric motoring will become cheaper than petrol or diesel equivalents, with price parity expected in the mid-2020s. The market for more affordable zero emission cars is growing rapidly, with a more than 60% increase in cars priced under£35,000 since 2019 (HM Government, 2020).

Rotterdam has subsidies and privileges for zero emission vans and trucks. Many entrepreneurs from the city and surrounding area use vans for business transport needs. To promote the purchase and use of electric vehicles, the following privilege is offered: a €5,000 grant for the purchase or lease of a fully electric van.

With this blog, we hope to have informed you about the possible changes in the urban distribution industry. So that you are prepared and can react in time. We at 20 bananas create apps to make sales easier for you as a wholesaler. We have just launched a new app for delivery:

  • Address capture
  • Route optimization
  • Delivery routing and navigation
  • Shipment tracking
  • Fleet Performance.

–> Contact us, we will be happy to tell you more about it

Source reference:

  1. Civitas . (2020). Smart choices for cities. The CIVITAS WIKI team.
  2. Clean technica. (2022, September 3). Nearly 150 Spanish Cities Rolling Out Low-Emission Zones In 2023. Opgehaald van
  3. El periodico. (2022). El futuro de la distribución urbana de mercancías: más restricciones horarias y menos furgonetas. Opgehaald van
  4. HM Government. (2020). Transitioning to zero emission cars. United kingdom : HM goverment. Opgehaald van Transitioning to zero emission cars
  5. La vanguardia. (2022, November 15). El reparto de mercancías acelera en las ciudades sin nadie al volante. Opgehaald van https://www.