Illuminating the paths to green logistics while leaving no one behind

Public authorities have been trialing solutions to decarbonise logistics and transport for years. However, the implementation thus far has often been experimental, without clear frameworks for large-scale rollout. A consequence of bolder and larger-scale policies is that many businesses will lose access to cities. The GLEAM NSR project directly addresses these challenges by supporting cities in implementing comprehensive transport decarbonisation policies.

The logistics sector, responsible for 25% of transport-related CO2 emissions, has a large share of SMEs (e.g., 99% of road carriers in the EU have fewer than 50 employees) and is very diverse. Although parcel delivery vehicles are highly visible, most urban logistics flows stem from construction, services (such as window washing or plumbing), and general retail. Unlike large companies that can easily adapt, SMEs often lack the awareness, knowledge, and financial capacities to innovate their business operations to fit rapidly advancing transport decarbonisation policies.

This twofold issue is what GLEAM NSR, an Interreg North Sea project, is aiming to address. The project will support cities with the implementation of ambitious policies for transport decarbonisation, while making sure that companies, especially small and medium-sized ones, are not left behind.

To realise this goal, Bax & Company supported the establishment of the GLEAM NSR partnership, comprised of:

Loading and unloading activities occupying a lane dedicated to buses and bikes.

2 knowledge partners – the University of Groningen (lead partner) and the University of Gothenburg;
5 public authorities – Aarhus, Le Havre Seine Metropole, Leuven, Mechelen, and Rotterdam;
2 policy partners – LNC and Copenhagenize and;
2 industry partners – VIL and SMEunited. 

As well as officially starting the project, partners have already engaged with local organisations that will support the implementation and liaison with SMEs and other public authorities, forming an external alliance for knowledge sharing. Bax & Company was involved in the proposal development stage and is currently supporting the initiation phase of the project, both with project management and sustainable logistics expertise.

GLEAM NSR comes at a particularly important moment, given the concerns raised by different stakeholders across Europe in the face of climate policies, most recently from the agriculture sector. This project aims to prevent such pushback by nurturing multi-stakeholder dialogues to ensure logistics SMEs are involved in the policy-making process, and can adapt to the upcoming changes.

– Lorena Axinte, Senior Mobility Consultant at Bax & Company

During the first project meeting hosted by the University of Groningen in January 2024, various interactive sessions brought to light the most relevant themes for the project partners:

Digitising urban logistics: Where do we get the data from? What do we do with it so that it informs policies?

Policy development & evaluation: What are EU cities doing for greening urban logistics? What’s the impact on the logistics sector, and especially on logistics SMEs? How do we know it’s working?

Logistics SME landscape: Which markets are SMEs most present in? How are cities engaging them in policy development? How can it be done better?

Upscaling, replication, harmonisation: Which stakeholders can do it? What conditions do they need?

The GLEAM NSR consortium attending the 1st project meeting in Groningen (January 2024)

The GLEAM NSR consortium attending the 1st project meeting
in Groningen (January 2024)

Given the current pushback on climate action (e.g., most recently coming from farmers and the agricultural sector), GLEAM NSR plays a particularly relevant role. Working with local actors while sharing know-how across the North Sea region and beyond, the project will develop the necessary stakeholder platforms that can put transportation justice at the heart of the urban logistics transition.

Learn more about the work of the Mobility and Logistics Planning team

Our Mobility and Logistics Planning team helps cities implement comprehensive transport decarbonisation policies, and other stakeholders to navigate these changes. If you want to learn more about opportunities for your organisation, reach out to a member of our team.

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