Nearly 74% of Europe’s inhabitants live in cities. The importance of cities for the overall economy is steadily increasing. Cities grow much more progressively than the entire human population. At the same time, urban residents are demanding customers who shop over the internet, take advantage of the availability of goods and services at all times and very rarely want to wait for something. It is even worse when something is sold out (whether it’s a banana or a spare phone cord). Therefore, this consumer behaviour puts pressure on “city logistics” – supplying shops, restaurants and other businesses. They must then respond to higher demands on logistics and the speed and volume of supplies. The solution is to put the store as close as possible to the city. However, there are some “catches”, and not just one.
“Catch” number 1 – land
Land is a resource that can be exhausted, and we can see resistance to use land in cities for industrial purposes. For these reasons there is a decrease in the available industrial land within cities or in the immediate vicinity. This leads the distribution centres away from the city centres, increasing the time and cost of transport.
“Catch” number 2 – transport
Transport in the metropolitan areas is in itself quite complicated, and in some cases improving measures are not implemented as fast increasing passenger and freight transport from outside the city requires. In some European cities, we can also see a variety of time or space constraints that force suppliers to come up with new solutions to meet rising demand while not increasing transport costs, which can already account for as much as 50% of the price of goods.
In the next few years, we will see smaller city logistics areas constructed in some localities that may arise from real estate originally intended for other purposes. For even greater efficiency, these buildings will be tailored to support vertical storage. It is then up to individual municipalities how high the will allow these buildings to be.