London and Southampton this year will be at the heart of two EU-funded projects aimed at achieving more efficient in-city freight deliveries.
The CITYLAB programme wants to reduce the traffic impacts of making last-km urban deliveries and of running the distribution operations that service large municipal and educational bodies - such as the University of Southampton, which has been chosen as a case study.
The project will involve using the new Southampton Sustainable Distribution Centre, which has been operated since 2014 for the city council by Meachers Global Logistics.
Logical logistics? Urban freight set for re-think
The contrasting London exercise involves a partnership between national carrier TNT and locally-based Gnewt Cargo, which runs a fleet of all-electric, zero-emission cargo cycles and minivans.
The aim is to help rationalise what CITYLAB calls the current 'highly fragmented' nature of last-km urban deliveries by trialling 'integrated and co-operative' supply chain methods to interlock differing tiers of carriers.
The hoped-for result will be the complete redesign of urban distribution networks.
CITYLAB is also researching the scope for reverse logistics, with returning vehicles carrying back waste and recyclable materials to reduce the need for municipal collections.
Transport for London and the University of Westminster are other UK partners.