The partners of the European CityLog project have been testing a new delivery concept in the city of Lyon, France. Supported and financed by the EU, the two-year CityLog (City Logistics) project was started in 2010 to study ways to reduce traffic congestion and the environmental impact of distribution processes in urban areas, through innovative vehicles and transport systems. CityLog is a consortium of 18 organizations from six different countries, coordinated by the Fiat Research Centre. The ‘Bentobox’ concept that is being tested in Lyon is a flexible delivery system for retailers located in downtown shopping centers, which allows the delivery of parcels outside the regular working hours, such as during the night or early in the morning.
The Bentobox system uses trolleys or mobile containers that are loaded with merchandise for shopping malls in the depot by project partner TNT. The trolleys are then delivered to an automated parcel station within the shopping mall, before or after normal opening hours. The driver inserts the trolleys into the dock station, triggering an automated alert that notifies the customer of delivery by SMS or email. Customers can then pick up their merchandise at their convenience. The system reduces the number of heavy trucks in downtown areas during busy times of the day, resulting in less pollution and noise in city centers. The Bentobox system has been tested for six weeks at the Part Dieu shopping center, in central Lyon, with TNT Express making off-peak deliveries to the Vivarté Group’s store.
Dominique Mamcarz, TNT project manager, commented, “The CityLog concepts do not target specific customers per se; however, they focus on sustainable solutions for urban areas. We approached our major retail network customers to take part in the Bentobox pilot as the solution fits their needs best, and Vivarté has responded positively. If this solution is rolled out, it will benefit numerous retail stores nationwide and be particularly useful for our customers who need flexible delivery solutions for their chain stores in shopping malls. We have launched a second CityLog pilot in Lyon; the ‘Freight Bus’. The basic idea is similar to Bentobox; mobile compartments used for first and last mile delivery in congested downtown areas. We are pleased to say that we are on target to finalize and evaluate the pilots for the EU by the end of the year as planned.”
9 August 2012
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