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 isaccompanied by the strong growth of the e-commerce sector, leading to moretransport movements on our road networks. In order to mitigate theexternalities of the e-commerce related parcel delivery market and try tomake 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 thesocial 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 projectsthat require high stakeholder involvement. Based on a stakeholder analysisand an analysis of their points of view, a sustainability framework has beendefined. This framework consists of a set of criteria along which several‘more sustainable’ last mile alternatives have been assessed. The mostimportant criteria are the reduction of GHG emissions, delivery time, costsand customer satisfaction.This study assesses the costs and benefits of the implementation of cargobikes, electric vans, Urban Consolidation Centres (UCCs), crowdsourcingsystems, and evening and night time deliveries. First, a Simple Multi-Attribute Rating Technique (SMART) method is applied to identify thealternative(s) that offer the highest utility (most benefits). According to theSMART analysis, parcel lockers, UCCs (with electric transport) and nightdelivery are the most beneficial alternatives for a sustainable last mile in alldifferent cases (best-, middle- and worst-cases). After implementing thesealternatives in a Discrete-Event Simulation (DES) model and conductingcarefully designed experiments with it, the conclusion can be drawn thatimplementing or expanding the parcel locker infrastructure significantlyenhances the operational efficiency. Furthermore, these lockers can easily bereplenished by night, which reduces the traffic impact of parcel delivery evenfurther.
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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