One commonly proposed solution to urban freight transport issues is the idea of consolidation over the last mile (through urban consolidation centres, UCC). Despite this strong focus, such initiatives have a horrendous commercial record, with very few (any??) surviving beyond the initial (subsidised) set up phase, with an educated success rate at more than 3%. Björklund et al (2017) highlight few researchers have actually provided profound insights into the design of viable business models for UCC success, hence the main aim of the paper is through a combination of secondary and case study research identify and examine critical factors behind commercial success, in other words, are friends electric?
The main findings are that the critical elements to commercial success lie in an active employment of Elkington’s Triple Bottom Line (Elkington, 1999), a primarily bottom up (as opposed to top down) approach to the business establishment and operation, and the development of key (private-private) partnership working. All these factors however suggest there is a limit to what can be achieved in terms of business scale, and how such a business model can be enlarged without losing the very essence of what it is?
Cowie, J. (2019, October). Are Friends Electric? Rethinking City Logistics. Presented at TRI’s 5th Annual Electric Vehicle Event, Edinburgh Napier University