Delft University of Technology
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
Transport Technology

J.H.D. Luiting Maten Verkenning mogelijkheden multimodale goederendistributiecentra in Amsterdam.
Masters thesis, Report 2001.TT.5520, Transport Engineering and Logistics.

Transport companies have encountered more and more problems to manage urban distribution in an efficient way. The reduction of stock space in order to have more shelf-space in the shops itself, has led to a more frequent delivery of smaller shipments. Due to the institution of time windows in most cities, it is not possible anymore to consolidate shipments for different cities. To deliver the goods during the time windows the transportation has to take place during peak hours. Furthermore restrictions apply to the dimensions of the vehicles to increase liveability in the cities. However the small urban distribution vehicles are not efficient enough for the inter-city transport because of their small load capacity.
Most of the transport companies use one type of truck for inter urban as well as intra urban transport, whereby they have to take into consideration the different demands on both routes. This results in a less efficient operation on both routes.

The National Distribution Network
A solution for the abovementioned problems might lay in the concept of the National Distribution Network. In this concept the inter urban transport is physically separated from the intra urban transport. In this way it is possible to optimise the transport on both trips.
For the inter urban transport this means that extended road vehicles can be used as well as other means of transport like rail or barges. Because the average size of shipment is smaller than the load capacity of the used means of transport it is necessary to consolidate (bundle) deliveries for several companies. The intra urban transport can be optimised by developing a city logistic system by measure.
Furthermore vehicles which cause as less as possible inconvenience should be used in urban areas.
The disengagement of inter urban and intra urban transport takes place at so called Logistic Parks (LSPs) at the skirts of the cities. These LSPs consists of a concentration of logistic activities, amongst others multi-user facilities, where the shipments can be regrouped by destination.

The City Logistic System.
The concept of the National Distribution Network departs from a logistic park in every region. With a city as big as Amsterdam this has several disadvantages. Amsterdam is characterized by a large area of the city itself, a dense use of the roads around the city and a large flow of goods. A big part of the transport will always take place by road. The traffic which reaches Amsterdam at the opposite side of the location of the LSP will have to travel a great deal through urban territory.

Therefore a second logistic park has to be placed at the other side of the city. At this distribution centre (named SDC) only trucks will be handled. Furthermore, a part of the city will be provisioned from this SDC, so the average distance to the shops (and offices or catering establishments) will be shortened and the infrastructure around the LSP will be less burdened. In principal, the shipments will be delivered from the logistic centre, located nearest to the shops. As a result, a flow of goods will develop between the LSP and SDC.

Because all consolidated shipments will be delivered to one terminal it is also possible to consolidate intra urban shipments. It is possible to use local terminals (named WDC), which are situated near the most important areas of distribution, within the City Logistic System. To deliver the goods to the local terminals, means of transportation with bigger load capacity than urban distribution vehicles can be used. At the local terminals the shipment will be transferred to urban distribution vehicles, which will deliver the goods to the shops.

Calculation showed that in Amsterdam the difference in number of vehicle kilometres between delivery from a logistic park (LSP) and delivery from a local terminal is 90%. This is illustrated in table 1. It has to be noted that transport between the logistic park and the local terminal has not been taken into consideration. The reason is that the number of movements between both locations depends on the load capacity of the vehicles, which will be used. Furthermore, it is possible to use an alternative for road transportation between a logistic park and a local terminal and therefore this transport will not lead to more vehicle kilometres.

Besides the reduction of vehicle kilometres, an important factor is the number of vehicles which have to be used to deliver the goods to the shops. This not only determines the intensity of the intra urban transport, but will also largely determine the saving of the costs of transport in the city. The costs of transport will be mainly expressed in cost per hour and not in cost per kilometre.
Further calculation has shown that in Amsterdam, by distribution from a local terminal, 35% less vehicles with a load capacity of one city box are needed in comparison with distribution from a Logistic Park. The calculation has also shown that the load capacity of the vehicles is hardly of any influence on the number of vehicles which have to be used by distribution from the local terminal.
These effects can be explained by the fact that the total time of the round trip depends mainly on the time used for loading and unloading of the vehicles.

Choice of location
The location of the Logistic Park has to meet a number of criteria. The LSP has to be accessible to all the modalities used on the backbone network (road, water and rail) but should also have a favourable position with respect of the destinations in the city. As in the urban goods distribution vehicles with a low load capacity will be used, there will be a larger number of trips on the intra urban routes than on the inter urban routes. In addition the separation of the inter-city transport and the intra-city transport means not only a physical separation but also a separation of both transports in time. Therefore it is possible to plan the trips on the inter-urban transports in such a way that peak hours can be avoided. In addition the inconvenience of congestion will not trouble the transport by rail and by water. As a result, the location of the Logistic Park with respect to the destinations is the most heavy criterion.

In Amsterdam there are only a few areas that are opened up by road as well as by rail and water. These areas are: Vlothaven, Schinkel, Amstel, Watergraafsmeer and Haarlemmervaart (see figure 1).

The location Vlothaven is chosen to situate the Logistic Park (LSP). This location is accesible to all modalities and its position is favourable with respect to the location of the destinations in the city. Another big advantage of Vlothaven is that it borders on the Vervoerscentrum, the industrial park with the biggest concentration of transport companies in Amsterdam. By connecting the Logistic Park and the Vervoerscentrum, a part of the activities can be accommodated at the Vervoerscentrum.

In the road network, two main axis can be distinguished. The main axis in the northwest direction consists of the roads A5 and A8, the traffic from the southeast direction comes from the A1 en A2.
The distribution centre (SDC) will be located on the area Amstel, because there the goods transport coming from the southeast direction can be offloaded at the skirt of the city.

The local terminals (WDCs) are placed in areas that receive a large number of shipments It is, however, hard to specify what the threshold for the number of shipments should be. Especially the areas in the inner city, arranged by postal codes, are areas which receive a large number of shipments (see figure 2). It is established that in these areas occur the most problems in the current distribution, therefore the local terminals should be situated here (see the red coloured areas).

Choice of means of transportation in the city
Within the City Logistic System four transport routes can be distinguished:
  1. transport between logistic park (LSP) and distribution centre (SDC)
  2. transport from LSP en SDC to the local terminals (WDC's)
  3. transport from LSP en SDC to the shops
  4. transport from the WDCs to the shops
The means of transportation which qualify for the transport between LSP, SDC and WDCs are; metro, barges, trucks and underground logistic system. Vehicles with a load capacity from one to approximately four city boxes can be used for the transport to the shops.

It is possible to use barges as floating local terminals (WDC's). A big advantage is that no space is needed in the city to set up a permanent WDC. In addition a system with self unloading ships is very flexible. A extensive network of canals exists in Amsterdam by which the inner city can be reached very well. Because the barges are silent and use the canals, they cause hardly any inconvenience to the environment. A space as big as two parking places should be reserved on the quay for unloading. The barges can be used to transport the goods during the night between the logistic park (LSP) and the distribution centre (SDC).

It is noted from table 1 that the load capacity of the vehicles has hardly any influence on the number of vehicles to be used. At the local terminals urban distribution vehicles with a load capacity of one city box are used, as smaller vehicles cause less inconvenience.
In the remaining parts of the city the distribution of goods causes less inconvenience. At the moment there are no restrictions for the goods transportation in the new parts of the city. At the moment there is no immediate reason to change that in the future.

Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
Modified: 2005.02.23; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.