Urban Distribution Center

To meet future trends, companies must adapt to an ever-increasing wealth of changes. In addition to numerous technological developments, societal or socio-cultural and demographic trends in society also exert a significant influence on companies. For example, in 25 years twice as many people worldwide (a total of around 13%) will be over 65 years old. In addition, it is predicted that in 2045 there will be around 9.4 billion people living on the planet. The number of people living in urban areas will be around 6.0 billion. This change will also lead to changes in the demands on the distribution of goods. In addition to the shippers, logistics service providers and the authorities will be responsible for this. In addition to the three stakeholder groups mentioned, a fourth, larger group must be considered in the distribution of goods, namely residents affected. While shippers and logistics service providers try to carry out a cost-efficient and fast delivery of goods, residents want an environment with minimal congestion, traffic, accidents and pollution. Administrators, on the other hand, seek to improve the economic and environmental conditions of cities. Due to the increase in the retail e-commerce sector, the number of parcels is also rising. Therefore, new logistics concepts for delivery traffic in cities are required since years.

The project "Urban Distribution Centre" was dedicated to this area of tension between a changing society, new customer needs and changed requirements for the transport of goods. The central question was whether the concept of "Urban Distribution Centers" (UDC for short) can be a solution for the problem space outlined (traffic, environment, smaller shipment sizes with shorter delivery times). A UDC is defined as a distribution center close to the city where transport orders are consolidated. The central aspect of the project is that this UDC also serves a fulfilment function. An Urban Fulfillment Centre (UFC) is a specialised building where products are temporarily stored for retailers and wholesalers, which are then shipped to another location or directly to customers. The aim of a UDC or UFC is to be closer to the POS and to the customers and thus to be able to serve customer wishes faster and more flexibly. Various options for bridging the last mile (home delivery, pick-up station, pick-up within a store) can be realised.