Mechelen workshop: micro-consolidation & parcel lockers


On the 10th of October 2017, the City of Mechelen (Belgium) organized a Novelog workshop about the role of micro-consolidation for a more efficient & sustainable logistics. It mainly focused on the part that smart lockers can play.

It welcomed about approximately 40 participants at the Congress center of Lamot, situated in the historic center of Mechelen.

City freight distribution is in full evolution. With the establishment of limited traffic areas, delivery time windows, low emission zones, development of pedestrian shopping areas and the evolution of e-commerce, the logistics sector faces new challenges. There is a need to test and implement new methods of pick-up and delivery of goods.

Micro-consolidation represents a solution to deliver goods in a more efficient and sustainable way. Locker systems are examples of smart consolidation.

The workshop opened with a presentation of the Novelog project by the project Leader Georgia Aifadopoulos from CERTH, Center for Research and Technology Hellas. Novelog is all about the development and implementation of sustainable urban logistics plans (SULPs): through collection and analysis of data and the development of different tools together with participating cities, the aim of Novelog is to formulate advice on effective and sustainable policy measures (see more on www.novelog.eu).

After the short introduction on Novelog, Veerle De Meyer from the City of Mechelen, one of the Novelog pilot cities, took the floor. She presented the evolution of the city itself, going from a car dominated city to a city with car free and low car zones with time frames for delivery. In the scope of the participation in several European projects on logistics, the city experimented with different forms of micro-consolidation. The presented examples were:

Veerle concluded her presentation by stating that micro-consolidation can be a solution for more efficiency and sustainability, but in order for it to work, some necessary requirements need to be put in place. These requirements are:

  • Implementing the needed flanking policy
  • The city needs to lead by example
  • New cooperative business models are imperative in the sector
  • A high level of awareness among all stakeholders is needed

In the meantime, it is important to keep testing different measures, because the way to a more sustainable city freight is made with small steps at a time (evolution instead of revolution).

After the presentation of Mechelen, three suppliers of smart locker systems had the chance in presenting their principle, system and business model.

These three suppliers were:

They all talked about convenience, growing e-commerce sector, avoiding failed deliveries & customer’s demand for express deliveries and tailor-made solutions.

After a short break, the floor was given to Professor Stanislaw Iwan of the Maritime University of Szczecin, Faculty of Engineering and Economics of Transport, Szczecin, Poland. His department conducted a research on the efficiency of the Inpost Parcel Lockers in Szcezecin.

In short, the main results of the survey:

  • 70% of users rates the system as very good (8 to 10/10);
  • The most preferred locations are close to home or on the way to work;
  • The lockers have an average monthly increase of deliveries of +28%;
  • Mainly price, speed of service and 24/7 availability are reasons to choose for a delivery in a locker:
  • The pick-ups are mainly done coming and/or going to/from work/school;
  • The most important factor of efficiency of this kind of solution is the proper location of the machines used for deliveries.

Lockers seem to be the major direction for the shaping of future delivering systems in cities and are a good opportunity to reduce their negative environmental impact. It will be interesting to follow the further development of this system.

The workshop was concluded with a short visit to one of the Bringme lockers installed in a parking lot in the center of Mechelen, where Bringme presented the different functionalities of the locker.

All presentations, pictures and the agenda can be downloaded at: http://novelog.eu/downloads/