SULPiTER Project: Results and recommendations

This May, the SULPiTER project was finalized, with seven regional logistics plans in seven European regions, as well as with a set of recommenda-tions. 

The SULPiTER project was 1st place winner of LOW CARBON LOGISTICS AWARD 2018 in the category “NGO Project of the Year”! LOW CARBON LOGISTICS AWARD 2018 aimed to search for “Agents of Change” which are environmentally, socially and economically conscious of future logistics challenges and opportunities and develop long-term, low-carbon, innova-tive and value adding investment strategies and partnerships. The inter-national jury, composed of experts with both academic and entrepreneur-ial backgrounds, jointly elected the best candidates in three categories: „Business”, „Municipality” and „NGO”, which have demonstrated leader-ship and developed a low carbon logistics project with significant eco-nomic, environmental and social benefits on local, national or even multi-national economies and communities. The winners were officially an-nounced and presented during the international conference „Green Cities: green logistics for greener cities”, held in SZCZECIN, Poland on 13-14 Sep-tember 2018. 

Here are the project’s recommendations: 

1. Urban freight is complex – It includes different play-ers, different stakeholders. Moreover, 90% of urban dis-tribution is on the road network, it is possible to have multiple origin, diverse and sometimes incompatible types of goods and flows. In this environment, highly rec-ommended to develop and use tools for observing and understanding city’s urban freight transport and its dy-namics. These observations show that specific supply chains might need more attention (e.g. food or construction); thus, analy-sis needs to be focused to supply chains relevant for particular city. 

2. Tools are important also for logistics – to better understand logistics flows, cities and metropolitan areas must be equipped with transport models, able to estimate the freight demand generated by commercial ac-tivities, but also by privates (including e-commerce). Data are important to assess, to understand and to compare. 

3. These observations already done in SULPiTER show that specific sup-ply chains might need more attention in specific fields (e.g. food or con-struction) thus analysis needs to be focused to supply chains relevant for particular city. 

4. Certainly, cities need to define clear goals for logistics domain, sup-porting these goals with strategies. It would be advisable to define (and fund) emblematic initiative of cities for integrated paradigm shift in city logistics structure and operation in the context of a holistic approach at local level for sustainable urban logistics Action Plans implementation. 

5. Sustainable Urban Logistics Plan is the right policy tool to address the city logistics problems. In such a complex environment, it is fundamental to have a set of policy tools at disposal, facing the city logistics problem 

with a multi-criteria and multi-stakeholder approach, including also the land use planning. 

6. As done in the past for the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, specifi-cations for the development of the Logistics plans should be foreseen. The European Commission, and Public Authorithies, should promote these Plans towards cities, in order to raise awareness on the importance of the logistics sector in mobility planning. 

7. In Europe, the city centric approach of last 30 years, caused lack of planning and related services in peripheral areas. Cities are strongly con-nected with their hinterlands, so it is important to harmonize services and to guarantee inclusion of people living in peripheral areas. For these rea-sons, planning must be at least at Metropolitan level. This is a requirement in order to maximize the use of infrastructures and to harmonize the rules at regional level 

8. Privates are an important piece of the logistics chain. They are the only allowed to guarantee a concrete change in order to have low carbon strategies. Without planning and in particular without rules with transpar-ent visions, privates are working on high business risks. Long term planning is needed in order to allow privates to make investments on low carbon strategies and vehicles. 

9. Establish public-private collaboration formats which can go beyond the definition of the plan and become a permanent partnership. This part-nership can co-create and contribute to the definition of rules and measures by institutionalizing the stakeholder platform. It also ease the development of policies which stimulate the optimization of the supply chain without imposing a re-organization of the supply chains themselves in a “collaborative” frame. This is possible with an open dialogue and with a strict cooperation between public and private. As mentioned in recom-mendation 3, specific meetings can face specific problems or specific top-ics with specific stakeholders (e.g.: construction logistics, port logistics, e-commerce). 

10. SUMP and SULP shares activities and roles, but stakeholders are com-pletely different. Moreover, passenger mobility usually cannibalizes logis-tics planning in terms of resource (time, money, attention and promotion). Consider to work on two plans in different stages 

11. Formal or informal cooperation on level of functional urban areas in all aspects could advance mitigation of negative impact of urban freight transport while it could also support economic activities in such areas. This partnership can co-create and contribute to the definition of rules and measures by institutionalizing the stakeholder platform. 

12. A single measure cannot provide a universal solution for a city. Cities must take into consideration to gradually activate a set of measures with the aim to make logistics more efficient. Pilots and tests are fundamental in order to check if the measures are compatible with the problem identi-fied. 

13. Cities and privates should promote the use of European Funds in or-der to make collaborative research on logistics. It allows the cities to check the application of measures and to better identify rules, business models and governance. 

14. SUMP and SULP rely on a concrete change of behaviours approach. Privates, Public administrations and residents must be aware that changes need more time than expected. It is recommended to keep rules on track, aware that changes will provide concrete and visible results only if the complete supply chain will work in a collaborative framework. 

15. City Logistics is reflecting on the demand of inhabitants. In order to have a real change, a perspective change is needed also from resident side (e.g.: reducing the number of e-commerce or using new collaborative ways to receive goods, like as lockers). Public Administrations must provide an adequate promotional activity in this field, as the city of the future can be built together only. 

16. The most important part of Europe is composed of small and mid-sized cities, covering more than 400 million European inhabitants. How-ever, big EU funds (e.g. H2020, Interreg, CEF) are mainly for big cities, where a critical mass exists. In those big cities (with more than 500,000 inhabitants) business models already exist, and in some cases, privates are leading innovative projects. The same is not true for the small and mid-sized cities, which do not have enough staff to work on innovation, do not have budget at all for the implementation of new tools, and in general are suffering the emergency, as they cannot tackle the trends as done in big cities. European Bodies should be focused on these problems in order to allow also small cities to develop innovative solutions for low carbon mobility.