Urban logistics

The pressure on our urban environment continues to grow with increasing congestion, environmental concerns and ever greater end-user demands. The various regulatory response by national and local government, have resulted in fragmented solutions, which create operational constraints varying by city and borough. Typical constraints include, geographical exclusion zones, timed access, vehicle standards, and operator licensing.

To add to the challenge, solutions such as electric vehicles and alternative modes of transport are rapidly developing, with the supply of vehicles lagging demand. These issues are magnified by the growing consumer demands for convenience and quality of service.

We have worked with several organisations and helped them identify their impact, reduce emissions and in some cases improve service levels in inner city environments. These initiatives involve multiple stakeholders, whereby the benefits and burdens are often not attributed to the same parties.

There are multiple ways to approach the urban challenge:

  • Adapt current operating methods:
    • Adapt transport schedule and operational timings to circumvent timing and geographical constraints.  This may reduce efficiency.
    • Update or replace the current fleet to meet legislative criteria of for example Direct Vision Standard (DVS) safety permits.
    • Explore opportunities for load sharing with other operators in the same areas. 
  • Explore alternative transport methods:
    • Electric vehicles similar to the current fleet mix.
    • Revise to fleet mix to include smaller EV, cargo bikes, and more outlandish option.
    • Subcontract specific areas or delivery types.
    • Alter the transport schedule to optimise use of new fleet mix.
  • Redesign the delivery network:
    • A common example is the use of consolidation centres to combine multiple small deliveries into fewer time controlled deliveries.
    • Add value for end user by improved timing, merchandising, waste removal, limit accessions to site.
    • Improve efficiency of scale, e.g. larger vehicles, waste processing, shared resources.
  • Collaboration:
    • All of the above offer the option to collaborate with other stakeholders in urban logistics.  
    • This can be in the form of sharing resources, using the same technology platform, or sub-contracting specific activities.


Developing new distribution channels and routes to market is key to resolving these complex issues.  The key stakeholders in urban logistics are:

  • Transport operators, both in-house and third-party logistics providers.
  • Recipient organisations such as hospitals, retailers, hospitality, offices, urban service providers.
  • Developers and planners.
  • Affected third parties e.g. residents, commuters, and visitors.

In order to improve urban logistics in a specific scenario one of the stakeholders needs to take ownership of the challenge or challenges if multiple areas are within their scope.


Logistics UK Supply Chain Consultancy has helped many organisations to overcome urban logistics challenges. We can show you, how to succeed with reduced CO2 emissions and a reduction in the impact of congestion that can help create commercial models that deliver for you and your customers. Specific examples include the specification, business case development, operational design, and implementation of consolidation centres.

Benefits we can help you deliver include:

  • Resolve immediate operational constraints.
  • Improve efficiency as well as meeting legislative criteria.
  • Improve end user experience.
  • Create public benefits and support corporate and social responsibilities (CSR).


To organise a free discussion with one of our consultants, please get in touch:

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Want more information or simply get in touch?

If you are facing issues with your supply chain , you need to optimise your warehouse operation or you’re worried about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic please complete our enquiry form.

Alternatively, get in touch by email:

Martin Palmer

Eddy de Jong

Paul Wilson


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