3594 The role of Swedish municipalities in the establishment of urban consolidation centres

Maria Björklund , Management and Engineering, Logistics Management, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Sara B. Gustafsson , Dept. of Management and MEchanical Engineering, LInköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Full Papers
  • The role of Swedish municipalities in the establishment of urban consolidation centres.pdf (113.0 kB)
  • Justification of the paper: Freight transportation in urban areas is one important area in the development of more sustainable cities. City logistics is often characterised by a myriad of small and ineffective goods flows. Despite that the need for transportation is derived from consumption, commonly the consignors (e.g. manufacturers) and not the receivers purchase the logistics service. As a consequence, freight to one receiver is distributed by different logistics service providers. Several Swedish municipalities have recognised the inefficiency in the flow of goods to their premises such as schools and offices, resulting in environmental impact and increased risk for accidents as a consequence of several delivery trucks around e.g. schoolyards. Some Swedish municipalities have therefore centralised their purchasing of goods and started to place demands on the transportation service purchased. However, different demands and purchasing practices are applied by different municipalities, and there is a lack of overview and knowledge exchange between different initiatives.

    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.