Last-mile delivery is the final stage of an item’s journey, where it reaches the end customer. It’s also the most carbon-intensive stage. Growth in e-commerce is increasing both traffic congestion and CO2 emissions from delivery vehicles. Intensive work is underway in Gothenburg to test carbon-neutral concepts for last-mile deliveries.
There was a need to reduce the heavy goods vehicles in the Campus Lindholmen area of Gothenburg. In 2008, the City of Gothenburg began offering a service to replace large goods and waste collection trucks with coordinated deliveries by electric mini truck. This initiative reduced heavy trucks in the Campus Lindholmen area by 80%.
When the City of Gothenburg decided to provide the service once again in 2016, it used innovative procurement, focusing on what the service would contribute rather than how it should be implemented. Waste management company Renova was offered the contract and it has been delivering goods and packages since 2020 from a micro-terminal, as well as collecting waste fractions and taking them back to the terminal. The municipal traffic office has also compiled a report on smart deliveries for a sustainable city, sharing all its know-how from being the owner of the process.
Self-driving robot delivers packages
The Climate Neutral Urban Logistics project tests and evaluates new, autonomous solutions for delivering goods in cities. A self-driving robot has been tested for package deliveries at the Chalmers University of Technology’s Johanneberg campus. The project also aims to generate new knowledge about how urban logistics affects the environment and how the transition to autonomous solutions affects society and infrastructure.
Smooth reloading for sustainable city deliveries
In central Gothenburg, there are different city hubs for reloading goods from trucks to electric cargo bikes. Either loose goods are reloaded or entire containers are moved between vehicles. A smart container system ensures reloading is fast and handled by one person. The bikes can then easily get into the city centre for the last-mile of delivery. In some areas, they also pick up returns, which are then taken back to the hub to be reloaded and shipped back to different e-commerce companies.
The Smoovit project brings together industry, academia and society to jointly develop and test a system in Gothenburg to reduce the amount of goods transport in inner-city areas by 40 percent. Instead of transport providers delivering goods using trucks with low load rates, Smoovit will help consolidate goods across multiple transport providers.