The Near Future of Parcel Delivery: Selecting Sustainable Solutions for Parcel Delivery

Ron van Duin, Bert Enserink, J.J. Daleman, M. Vaandrager

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

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The GHG-emissions of the transport sector are still increasing. This trend is
accompanied by the strong growth of the e-commerce sector, leading to more
transport movements on our road networks. In order to mitigate the
externalities of the e-commerce related parcel delivery market and try to
make it more sustainable, the following research question has been drafted:
How could the last mile parcel delivery process become more sustainable,
i.e. how to minimise traffic impacts and emissions, while maintaining the
social and economic benefits of e-commerce and home deliveries?
To answer the research question, this study follows a Multi-Actor Multi-
Criteria Approach (MAMCA), which is defined especially for large projects
that require high stakeholder involvement. Based on a stakeholder analysis
and an analysis of their points of view, a sustainability framework has been
defined. This framework consists of a set of criteria along which several
‘more sustainable’ last mile alternatives have been assessed. The most
important criteria are the reduction of GHG emissions, delivery time, costs
and customer satisfaction.
This study assesses the costs and benefits of the implementation of cargo
bikes, electric vans, Urban Consolidation Centres (UCCs), crowdsourcing
systems, and evening and night time deliveries. First, a Simple Multi-
Attribute Rating Technique (SMART) method is applied to identify the
alternative(s) that offer the highest utility (most benefits). According to the
SMART analysis, parcel lockers, UCCs (with electric transport) and night
delivery are the most beneficial alternatives for a sustainable last mile in all
different cases (best-, middle- and worst-cases). After implementing these
alternatives in a Discrete-Event Simulation (DES) model and conducting
carefully designed experiments with it, the conclusion can be drawn that
implementing or expanding the parcel locker infrastructure significantly
enhances the operational efficiency. Furthermore, these lockers can easily be
replenished by night, which reduces the traffic impact of parcel delivery even
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable City Logistics Planning
Subtitle of host publicationMethods and Applications
EditorsAnjali Awasthi
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-53616-610-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-53616-609-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameManagement Science - Theory and Applications

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Parcel Delivery
  • Sustainability
  • assessment
  • simulation
  • future


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