Urban freight distribution: Logistics centers strategies

Author: Transport Division, Inter-American Development Bank

Urban freight distribution is the ¨last mile¨ in the transportation chain. It covers all movements related to the commercial activity and the provision and distribution of goods in cities, and is therefore fundamental to cities’ economic development. It is also one of the principal causes of transit congestion and the emission of contaminants. The problems related to urban freight distribution require integral solutions, because they affect a variety of stakeholders: the suppliers and demanders of the service, local authorities, and users of public roads.

“Urban freight distribution: Logistics centers strategies” is a technical paper prepared by Jaun Pablo Antún, a specialist on the topic, for the Inter-American Development Bank. The paper defines urban freight distribution, characterizes its supply and demand, and mentions its associated costs and other externalities. It also discusses recent tendencies in logistical practices for urban freight distribution, and presents public policy as a key tool to organize it. The principal focus of the paper is on two political interventions: logistics centers (integrated freight centers, urban logistics microplatforms, logistics parks, interports, port logistics activity zones, among others) and urban-metropolitan transport corridors.

In addition, the technical paper presents a methodological framework for a logistics centers strategy, and lays a foundation for the design of public policies to promote the logistical equipment of cities. Finally, the paper gives examples of innovative experiences of freight distribution in urban centers, namely in medium-sized European cities according to different types of logistics centers.

Link to the document (in Spanish):