Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyse successful city logistics initiatives taken by Swedish municipalities and thereby provide an overview of ways receivers can respond to the challenge of ineffective distribution of goods in cities.
Theoretical framework: This paper combines literature with regard to green logistics, purchasing, capacity building, organisational learning and environmental management.
Results: The investigation of initiatives taken by municipalities have several similarities but also many differences. Common determinants in many initiatives are the lack of co-operation and knowledge exchange between different initiatives and actors, and the unstructured way of capacity building. Many municipalities let consultancies investigate the baseline and estimate improvement potentials. As a result, the municipalities risk that the knowledge and deeper understanding of the design of the initiative fails in becoming integrated in the organisation’s knowledge base. However, the paper also provides good examples of how this knowledge can be integrated in the organisation and contributes to improve their procurement competence.
Conclusions: Some municipalities have taken a first and very important step towards a more sustainable city logistics. This paper shows that this area of research is still in its infancy and several new areas for further research is identified. There is a need for a more systematic performance of both designing the initiatives and to transfer and build knowledge. There is also a need for an expanded collaboration between different actors in order to make the freight transports in the cities more effective leading to less environmental and social impacts as well as decrease the transportation costs. The initiatives taken by municipalities show several strengths, but also weaknesses. An increased knowledge transfer, supported by the overview presented in this paper, can help municipalities overcome several of these weaknesses. The overview provided facilitates an increased understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different initiatives, as well as hinders and driving forces, ways to collaborate and exchange knowledge.