UPS’s Innovative Solution To Logistics Problems Posed By Urbanization

It is estimated that by the year 2050, two thirds of the world’s population will live in a city. Being home to a lot of people is nothing new for most cities, with port cities in particular being thriving hubs for thousands of years. However, the ways in which people live and commerce operates have changed dramatically over the years, and not all cities can accommodate a big influx of modern dwellers smoothly and without environmental repercussions.

As the site of Europe’s second-biggest port, Hamburg knows what it’s like to be a transportation hub. However, the city was essentially set up for waterways. Dealing with modern global commerce has posed a new set of problems for the city entirely.

Hamburg’s city center is full of narrow streets full of activity, and its infrastructure is having trouble keeping up. Parking is nightmare, and an influx of commercial vehicles makes getting around by car nearly impossible – not to mention the effect on the environment.

Fleet Overhaul Changes The Game Completely

The innovators at UPS came up with a novel solution to make the most of the city’s existing space. They launched a pilot program in which they replaced big delivery vehicles with smaller ones that are more suited to navigating the city. The drivers pick up their deliveries from storage containers holding consolidated shipments in the city center. They then make use of tricycles and walkers to bring deliveries downtown and into the pedestrian-only areas. Part of this city-friendly fleet includes four electronically-assisted bikes called “Cargo Cruisers” that can be charged using a standard electric socket overnight.

The effort has successfully reduced the traffic in the city as well as the emissions coming from package deliveries. In addition, UPS service providers don’t need to go to package centers as often, which cuts down on noise and congestion. UPS is now hoping that this solution will be replicated in other cities, and it could prove an ideal approach to handling the problems posed by the increase in city living.

This blog post was based off an article from UPS Longitudes. View the original here.