Multi-stakeholder collaboration in urban freight consolidation schemes: drivers and barriers to implementation

    Daniela Paddeu Affiliation
    ; Graham Parkhurst Affiliation
    ; Gianfranco Fancello Affiliation
    ; Paolo Fadda Affiliation
    ; Miriam Ricci Affiliation


Due to the motivations of climate change, the health impacts of poor air quality, and the importance of cities for economic growth, transport policy at all levels of governance places emphasis on reducing and managing urban traffic and congestion. Whilst the majority of urban traffic is created by personal travel, freight vehicles make a relatively large contribution per vehicle to congestion, pollution and severe accidents. The European Commission (EC 2011) estimates that 6% of all EU transport carbon emissions are from urban freight. For these reasons, a well-structured portfolio of measures and policies oriented towards more sustainable and efficient management of supply chain activities carried out in urban areas is needed, in order to reduce negative externalities related to urban mobility and improve economic performance. In recent years, there has been enthusiasm amongst commentators that shared-resource economic models can both create new commercial opportunities and address policy problems, including in the transport sector. Within the city logistics subsector, this new model is exemplified by the emergence of Urban freight Consolidation Centres (UCCs). UCCs replace multiple ‘last-mile’ delivery movements, many of which involving small consignments, by a common receiving point (the consolidation centre), normally on the periphery of a city, with the final part of the delivery being shared by the consignments in a small freight vehicle. Such arrangements can represent a good compromise between the needs of city centre businesses and their customers on the one hand (i.e. high availability of a range of goods) and local and global sustainability objectives on the other. At the same time, by sharing logistics facilities and delivery vehicles, UCCs offer added-value services to both urban economic actors, such as retailers, and network logistics providers. However, UCCs add to the complexity of logistics chains, requiring additional contracts, communications and movement stages. These arrangements also introduce additional actors within the supply of delivery services, notably local authorities present as promoters and funders, rather than simply as regulators, companies specialised in the UCC operation, and companies, which provide specialist technologies, such as electric delivery vehicles. UCCs therefore also represent an example of multi-stakeholder collaboration. Drawing on the results of a 2013 survey in Bristol (United Kingdom) and a further survey carried out in 2015 in Cagliari (Italy), the present paper will provide an in-depth comparison of the differences in the perceptions of urban freight users and stakeholders towards UCCs. Retailers involved in the survey carried out in Bristol showed high satisfaction with the delivery service provided by the UCC. Different topic areas (e.g. timeliness, reliability, safety) are examined through analyses of both qualitative and quantitative data. The survey carried out in Cagliari investigated the inclination of potential users to join a UCC scheme. The comparison between the two cities considers factors such as the nature of business holding (e.g. SME versus multiple retailers), operational practices (e.g. pattern of deliveries) and operating subsector (e.g. food versus no food). An analysis on the barriers to the implementation of UCCs in Bristol and in Cagliari is provided at the end of the paper.

Keyword : sharing resources, sustainable urban freight transport, urban freight consolidation centre, city logistics, case study

How to Cite
Paddeu, D., Parkhurst, G., Fancello, G., Fadda, P., & Ricci, M. (2018). Multi-stakeholder collaboration in urban freight consolidation schemes: drivers and barriers to implementation. Transport, 33(4), 913-929.
Published in Issue
Dec 5, 2018
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


AECOM/ITS. 2010. Freight Modal Choice Study. AECOM Transportation / Institute for Transport Studies (ITS), University of Leeds, UK. 212 p.

Allen, J.; Browne, M.; Woodburn, A.; Leonardi, J. 2014. A review of urban consolidation centres in the supply chain based on a case study approach, Supply Chain Forum: an International Journal 15(4): 100–112.

Allen, J.; Browne, M.; Woodburn, A.; Leonardi, J. 2012. The role of urban consolidation centres in sustainable freight transport, Transport Reviews 32(4): 473–490.

Bahinipati, B. K.; Kanda, A.; Deshmukh, S. G. 2009. Horizontal collaboration in semiconductor manufacturing industry supply chain: an evaluation of collaboration intensity index, Computers & Industrial Engineering 57(3): 880–895.

Fransoo, J. C.; Blanco, E. E.; Mejía-Argueta, C. 2017. Reaching 50 Million Nanostores: Retail Distribution in Emerging Megacities. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 440 p.

Bristol City Council. 2013. Key Informant Interview Conducted. 25/04/2013. Available from Internet:

Browne, M.; Allen, J. 2011. Enhancing the sustainability of urban freight transport and logistics, Transport and Communications Bulletin for Asia and the Pacific 80: 1–19.

Browne, M.; Sweet, M.; Woodburn, A.; Allen, J. 2005. Urban Freight Consolidation Centres: Final Report. Transport Studies Group, University of Westminster, UK. 191 p.

Browne, M.; Woodburn, A.; Allen, J. 2007. The role of urban consolidation centres for different business sectors, in 11th World Conference on Transport Research, 24–28 June 2007, Berkeley, CA, US, 1–20.

Dablanc, L. 2011. City distribution, a key element of the urban economy: guidelines for practitioners, in C. Macharis, S. Melo (Eds.). City Distribution and Urban Freight Transport: Multiple Perspectives, 13–36.

Doig, J. W. 2002. Empire on the Hudson. Columbia University Press. 620 p.

Eisenhardt, K. M. 1989. Building theories from case study research, Academy of Management Review 14(4): 532–550.

Bertuccio, L.; Maldacea, R.; Sorge, M.; Gargiulo, O. 2015. Mobilità Sostenibile in Italia: Indagine sulle principali 50 città. Euromobility, Roma, Repubblica Italiana, 38 p. (in Italian).

EC. 2011. White Paper: Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a Competitive and Resource Efficient Transport System. COM(2011) 144 final. 28.3.2011, Brussels. Available from Internet:

Gonzalez-Feliu, J.; Malhéné, N.; Morganti, E.; Morana, J. 2014. The deployment of city and area distribution centers in France and Italy: comparison of six representative models, Supply Chain Forum: an International Journal 15(4): 84–99.

Gonzalez-Feliu, J.; Morana, J. 2011. Collaborative transportation sharing: from theory to practice via a case study from France, in J. Yearwood, A. Stranieri (Eds.). Technologies for Supporting Reasoning Communities and Collaborative Decision Making: Cooperative Approaches, 252–271.

Gonzalez-Feliu, J.; Salanova, J.-M. 2012. Defining and evaluating collaborative urban freight transportation systems, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 39: 172–183.

Goodman, R. W. 2005. Whatever you call it, just don’t think of last-mile logistics, last, Global Logistics & Supply Chain Strategies 9(12): 46–51.

Holguín-Veras, J.; Polimeni, J.; Cruz, B.; Xu, N.; List, G.; Nordstrom, J.; Haddock, J. 2005. Off-peak freight deliveries: challenges and stakeholders’ perceptions, Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 1906: 42–48.

Holguín-Veras, J.; Sánchez-Díaz, I. 2016. Freight demand management and the potential of receiver-led consolidation programs, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 84: 109–130.

Holguín-Veras, J.; Silas, M.; Polimeni, J.; Cruz, B. 2008. An investigation on the effectiveness of joint receiver–carrier policies to increase truck traffic in the off-peak hours. Part II: the behavior of carriers, Networks and Spatial Economics 8(4): 327–354.

Kiba-Janiak, M.; Cheba, K. 2011. An assessment of individual transport in the aspect of quality of life on the example of selected medium sized cities, Total Logistic Management (4): 77–88.

Kiba-Janiak, M.; Cheba, K. 2015. Reference model of local authority cooperation with stakeholders for urban freight transport, in Proceedings of the URBE 2015: Urban Freight and Behavior Change, 1–2 October 2015, Rome, Italy.

Kin, B.; Verlinde, S.; Van Lier, T.; Macharis, C. 2016. Is there life after subsidy for an urban consolidation centre? an investigation of the total costs and benefits of a privately-initiated concept, Transportation Research Procedia 12: 357–369.

Köhler, U. 2004. New ideas for the city-logistics project in Kassel, in E. Taniguchi, R. G. Thompson (Eds.). Logistics Systems for Sustainable Cities, 321–332.

Lindholm, M; Browne, M. 2013. Local authority cooperation with urban freight stakeholders: a comparison of partnership approaches, European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research 13(1): 20–38.

Marcucci, E.; Danielis, R. 2008. The potential demand for a urban freight consolidation centre, Transportation 35(2): 269–284.

Martin, C. J. 2016. The sharing economy: a pathway to sustainability or a nightmarish form of neoliberal capitalism?, Ecological Economics 121: 149–159.

McKinnon, A. 2010. Green logistics: the carbon agenda, Log Forum 6(3): 1–9.

Montoya-Torres, J. R.; Muñoz-Villamizar, A.; Vega-Mejía, C. A. 2016. On the impact of collaborative strategies for goods delivery in city logistics, Production Planning & Control: the Management of Operations 27(6): 443–455.

Muñoz-Villamizar, A.; Montoya-Torres, J. R.; Vega-Mejía, C. A. 2015. Non-collaborative versus collaborative last-mile delivery in urban systems with stochastic demands, Procedia CIRP 30: 263–268.

OECD. 2003. Delivering the Goods: 21st Century Challenges To Urban Goods Transport. Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) Publishing. 153 p. Available from Internet:

Paché, G. 2008. Efficient urban e-logistics: mutualization of resources and source of competitive advantage, in Proceedings of the 7th International Meeting for Research in Logistics (RIRL 2008), 24–26 September 2008, Avignon, France.

Paddeu, D.; Fadda, P.; Fancello, G.; Parkhurst, G.; Ricci, M. 2014. Reduced urban traffic and emissions within urban consolidation centre schemes: the case of Bristol, Transportation Research Procedia 3: 508–517.

Paddeu, D.; Fancello, G.; Fadda, P. 2017. An experimental customer satisfaction index to evaluate the performance of city logistics services, Transport 32(3): 262–271.

Patier, D. 2006. New concepts and organisations for the last mile: French experiments and their results, in E. Taniguchi, R. G. Thompson (Eds.). Recent Advances in City Logistics, 361–374.

SLDS. 2005. Vraaggestuurd Bundelen. Stichting Leve De Stad (SLDS), Amsterdam. (in Dutch).

Taniguchi, E. 2014. Concepts of city logistics for sustainable and liveable cities, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 151: 310–317.

Taniguchi, E.; Tamagawa, D. 2005. Evaluating city logistics measures considering the behavior of several stakeholders, Journal of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies 6: 3062–3076.

Triantafyllou, M. K.; Cherrett, T. J.; Browne, M. 2014. Urban freight consolidation centers: case study in the UK retail sector, Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2411: 34–44.

Tseng, Y.-Y.; Yue, W. L.; Taylor, M. A. 2005. The role of transportation in logistics chain, Proceedings of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies 5: 1657–1672.

UN. 2012. World Urbanization Prospects: the 2011 Revision. United Nations (UN), Department of Economic and Social Affairs: Population Division. 318 p. Available from Internet:

Van der Poel, W. 2000. Leyden Car(e) Free: an Integral Approach to a Better Environment in an Old City. Gemeente Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Van Duin, R. 2009. To be or not to be, a typical city distribution centre question. Research on success and failures in ten European CDC-cases, in Bijdragen Vervoerslogistieke Werkdagen, The Netherlands, 123–145.

Van Rooijen, T.; Quak, H. J. 2009. – a new type of urban consolidation centre, in European Transport Conference 2009, 5–7 October 2009, Leeuwenhorst Conference Centre, The Netherlands, 1–14.

Van Rooijen, T.; Quak, H. 2010. Local impacts of a new urban consolidation centre – the case of, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 2(3): 5967–5979.

Verlinde, S.; Macharis, C.; Witlox, F. 2012. How to consolidate urban flows of goods without setting up an urban consolidation centre?, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 39: 687–701.

Walker, H.; Di Sisto, L.; McBain, D. 2008. Drivers and barriers to environmental supply chain management practices: Lessons from the public and private sectors, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management 14(1): 69–85.

Witkowski, J.; Kiba-Janiak, M. 2014. The role of local governments in the development of city logistics, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 125: 373–385.

Zenezini, G.; Mangano, G.; Cagliano, A. C.; De Marco, A. 2015. A conceptual framework for evaluating City Logistics business models, in Proceedings of the URBE 2015: Urban Freight and Behavior Change, 1–2 October 2015, Rome, Italy.

Zhang, D.; Eglese, R.; Li, S. 2018. Optimal location and size of logistics parks in a regional logistics network with economies of scale and CO2 emission taxes, Transport 33(1): 52–68.

Zunder, T. H.; Ibanez, J. N. 2004. Urban freight logistics in the European Union, European Transport \ Trasporti Europei 28: 77–84.

Zunder, T.; Marinov, M. 2011. Urban freight concepts and practice: would a traditional UCC scheme work?, Transport Problems 6(1): 87–95.