Two years ago, dozens of organizations in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area pledged to commit themselves to clean and smart city logistics. What about their efforts now? The Board speaks to signatories of the GDZES MRA. In part 2 of a series: Vervoerregio Amsterdam, a network organization of municipalities that formulates effective policy for zero-emission city logistics together with the business community.
How can you, as a municipality, formulate an effective policy for zero-emission city logistics together with the business community? Vervoerregio Amsterdam (link in Dutch) has been actively involved in answering that question since the signing of the Green Deal ZES MRA. We interviewed network director Ton Geuzendam.
Vervoerregio Amsterdam is a collaboration of 15 municipalities. Many challenges related to city logistics are similar within those municipalities, Geuzendam explains. “In all municipalities there is a lot of catering and construction logistics and half-empty buses are driving around with packages. That goes at the expense of quality of life. Which is why you want companies to arrange logistics in a smarter and more efficient way. By working together and having hubs on the outskirts of the city.”
At the same time, there are also major differences. While it is already clear in Amsterdam and Haarlem that there will be zero-emission zones, there are also municipalities that are still waiting. At the same time they fear they will soon be left with the dirty vehicles. Geuzendam: “This is precisely why it is good to collectively think about appropriate policy: about time windows, about certain exemptions, or precisely about privileges for the front runners. When you have more or less the same policy everywhere, it becomes easier for companies to adapt.”
Companies also indicate that they mainly need clarity. They want to know where they stand in a few years. “These zero-emission zones are a clear policy, which is why we must arrange that in the same way regionally as much as possible. If you, as an entrepreneur from another municipality, mainly work in Amsterdam, you know that in the future you will only be allowed to enter the city with a zero-emission vehicle. Then you should be able to charge your van at home,” says Geuzendam.
Dashboard Logistics Flows
Vervoerregio is working on a Regional Implementation Agenda for Urban Logistics in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. This includes the Logistics Flow dashboard (link in Dutch) which the municipalities will soon have access to. “In order to be able to make concrete agreements, we need to know what the situation is now. Which vehicles drive which routes and for which sector? We use data from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and surveys among truck and van owners for this. The dashboard is updated every six months. This makes it a good starting point for policy. Municipalities can use these data to think about better routes for logistics vehicles, but also about locations for hubs, for example.”
Part of the implementation agenda is also a vision of the logistics hubs. Vervoerregio will develop this together with the province of Noord-Holland in the coming months, partly on the basis of questions from logistics entrepreneurs. Geuzendam: “The market must start developing these types of hubs, but we do want to know what is a good location for these types of hubs. Which existing warehouses we could possibly use. Which charging infrastructure and infrastructural adjustments are required. The dashboard will of course also help us with this.”
A coordinated approach for construction logistics will also become part of the implementation agenda.
Rijkswaterstaat is now supervising a number of pilots for construction logistics hubs on the outskirts of the city. An example of this is Bouwhub in Zaandstad-North, (link in Dutch) for which the companies and governments involved signed the Building Logistics Letter of Intent. Geuzendam: “I think the government can give zero-emission construction logistics a boost by outsourcing construction projects in a more sustainable manner. For example, by requiring that there are not twenty deliveries per day to the construction site, but only one bundled delivery.”
Involve all entrepreneurs
The questions that entrepreneurs have are the basis for the regional implementation agenda for city logistics, Geuzendam emphasizes. “We want to know what the government can facilitate to ensure that companies organize their logistics smarter and cleaner.”
For example, the Transport Region also commissioned research showing that SMEs and self-employed people in particular are still not very much involved in zero-emission logistics. “While new rules do affect them. They may have to buy a zero-emission bus, partner with other companies, or use the hubs around the city. If we want plasterers and painters to be able to enter the city in the future, we must involve them more actively in this subject. Actively inform them about subsidy schemes, about changes in the rules. That is still a big challenge for us, so if you have ideas about how we can organize this properly, please contact me.”
This is partly why the GDZES MRA meetups are interesting for Geuzendam. There, companies, education and governments come together to discuss the challenges surrounding zero-emission city logistics. The next GDZES meetup will be on October 12. Do you have a proposal, idea or issue that you would like to use the community for, or would you like to sign the Green Deal Zero Emissie Stadslogistiek MRA? Look here for more information. (Meetup in Dutch)