FEATURE STORY September 1, 2017

Urban logistics, a vital component of sustainable cities

E-commerce boom and new urban restrictions on truck traffic boost innovations such as crowdshipping.

World Bank Group


Crowd. Shipping. These two words together form an increasingly familiar and emerging concept among those interested in transportation, logistics and urban mobility. In the spirit of collaborative economics, the idea behind crowdshipping is using ordinary citizens - on foot, by bicycle or by any means of transportation available to them - to make deliveries. Entrepreneurs, couriers, and consumers simply need to sign up in an application to connect.

Crowdshipping services are booming around the world, driven by online retail - which is expected to move US$ 4 trillion by 2020, according to research firm eMarketer. As e-commerce grows, so does the need for same-day delivery systems. Crowdshipping can complement truck deliveries with lighter, easier-to-maneuver vehicles, as more and more cities impose restrictions on truck traffic.

“Just as we encourage projects that promote the use of public transportation, sustainable transport and non-motorized transportation, we also need products to reach these concentrated cities. Thus, urban logistics is a vital component of sustainable cities,” says Bianca Alves, Transportation Specialist at the World Bank.              

Crowdshipping can save companies money - as they no longer need to set up a carrier structure - and can be a new source of income for many people, but it also requires good regulation to work well. The video discusses aspects to consider when planning for innovative logistics solutions for the cities of the future. 



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