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New study by Roland Berger and FM Logistic calls for more cooperation to tackle urban logistics challenges

The urban logistics market is set to grow by an annual average of 8% in the years to 20301, according to a new study by FM Logistic and the consultancy firm Roland Berger.…

On September 2, 2020

The urban logistics market is set to grow by an annual average of 8% in the years to 20301, according to a new study by FM Logistic and the consultancy firm Roland Berger. Yet road freight is responsible for an estimated 20% of urban traffic and 30% of CO2 emissions in cities. The rise in e-commerce, compounded by the fragmented nature of the logistics industry and the high proportion (up to 30 %) of failed first-time deliveries pose sustainability issues.

According to the study, called “Urban logistics faced with economic and environmental challenges”, only an increased cooperation between private logistics businesses, IT companies and public authorities will enable to optimise the flow of goods to and within the cities, while responding to customers’ needs.

Boom in home deliveries

One out of 10 city-dwellers in the 13 studied countries receives one parcel a day. More than one-third (37%) of French city-dwellers use home food delivery services. This proportion reaches 60% in Paris. In order to fight pollution, more cities are adopting regulations limiting the use of gas-powered vehicles. From Copenhagen to Stuttgart and Paris, cities across Europe are planning or implementing diesel bans.

Three proposals to make urban logistics more sustainable

The study lays out three proposals to optimise urban logistics efficiency:

  • Establish common standards, for instance with regard to package dimensions, so as to facilitate transhipment operations
  • Sharing warehousing and transportation resources between organisations
  • Make best use of the existing urban infrastructure: use of bus lanes to move goods by night, combination of road, rail and waterway transport, etc.

Three investment priorities

The study also articulates three investment priorities in new technologies:

  • The collection and sharing of data about urban spaces for better route planning and shipment tracking
  • Warehouse automation to increase speed and accuracy
  • Eco-efficient means of transport (electric, gas, or hydrogen vehicles) delivering operational value while minimising the environmental impact

“Urban logistics players need to collectively rethink their practices to answer consumer demands in a cost efficient and environmental friendly way”, says Xavier Prévost, business solutions and information systems director, FM Logistic.

Promising initiatives

Multiple projects have been initiated worldwide to optimise the flow of goods and information in cities.

“Innovative technical and organisational solutions are emerging in every step of the chain -from transport and storage to returns management. They are reshaping the last-mile delivery process used by logistics companies, their customers and consumers and improving the cost/value proposition, service quality and environmental impact,” says Gabriel Schillaci, Transport, Logistics and Mobility Director at Roland Berger Paris.

In the UK for instance Mole Solutions has piloted the use of capsules to move freight underground in Southampton.

In France, FM Logistic and the real estate company Novaxia have partnered to mount temporary logistics centres in vacant urban buildings. The project called “PLUME” is being co-funded by the Île-de-France region.

Inaugurated in 2018, the Chapelle International district in the north of Paris is home to a logistics centre called “The logistics hotel”, a multi-storey warehouse with a railway terminal that helps reduce the use of road vehicles.


The study by Roland Berger and FM Logistic is based on internal research as well as 20 interviews with urban logistics experts and shippers in different industries.

1 Combined values for shipments to dense urban areas in 13 countries: United States, Canada, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Australia, China, Japan and India.

About FM Logistic

Founded in France in 1967, FM Logistic is an independent, family-owned company that provides supply chain solutions to a broad range of companies in the FMCG, retail, perfume & cosmetics, industrial manufacturing, and healthcare industries. It is active in 14 countries across Europe, Asia, and Latin America (Brazil). It achieved revenue of €1.43 billion in the fiscal year to March 2020 and has more than 27,500 FTE employees.
FM Logistic invests in innovation to offer supply chain services that answer changing consumer demands, the rise of e-commerce, omni-channel distribution and sustainability.
Discover more information on FM Logistic.
You can follow FM Logistic on Twitter at @FMLogistic

About Roland Berger

Founded in 1967, Roland Berger is the only leading global consultancy firm with non-Anglo-Saxon roots. We are German by origin, European by nature and global by ambition, including a strong footprint in Asia and other geographies where we feel that we can truly make an impact. We have always strived to a different perspective in the field of consulting and business, and today we continue to constructively challenge standard patterns of thought and provide clients with new solutions to manage disruption and transformation.
Discover more information on Roland Berger.
Follow Roland Berger on twitter : @RolandBerger

Media contacts

FM Logistic
Cyrille Gibot
External communication manager
+33 (0)6 45 99 91 58

Roland Berger
Victoria Etter
Media relations manager
+33 (0)6 74 83 66 96

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