Sustainable Centralized Package Delivery Service Pilot Project Launched at Ghent University

(03-09-2020) The Procurement Unit has launched LOOP GENT with the City of Ghent for a more efficient and sustainable package delivery system at Ghent University.

Nederlandse versie

Package delivery services like BPost, DHL, GLS, UPS or PostNL pose a great challenge to modern cities and the City of Ghent is no exception. Within this context, Ghent University struggles with the additional difficulty of working with a string of different delivery services that deliver packages to our campuses and building complexes; large locations with an often-complex layout which is difficult for deliverymen to find their way in.

Problem

Every deliveryman has to navigate their vehicle through the city to make their way to our locations after which, more often than not, they get lost in our buildings. This forces them to bother Ghent University employees for directions to the correct recipient of their package and, if no-one’s available, they often just drop the package with the first person they see – or worse still, the package is abandoned and lost.

This results in an inefficient, environmentally unfriendly system that often has problems getting packages to the correct recipient. To try and come up with a solution for this problem, in 2019 Ghent University invited the City of Ghent to join forces. Together, they launched LOOP Gent (Logistical Optimalisation).

LOOP GENT

The project has three goals: to create a more sustainable and efficient solution for the logistical challenges that face Ghent University and the City today, all the while keeping cost control in mind.

After a preparatory analysis phase, LOOP Gent is going to test its findings in a pilot project together with the Flemish Institute for Logistics. Based on the fundamentals of city logistics, a central hub will be built on the edge of town which will allow all delivery services to be routed to the same location. From this central hub, deliveries will be further distributed to Ghent University locations in the city center, the so-called last mile, using bike couriers and electrical delivery vans.

Goals

LOOP GENT is more sustainable because it simply requires less distance to be covered by motorized vehicles. Due to the last mile being serviced using only sustainable means of transportation, such as bicycles or electrical delivery vans, there is less of a need for polluting logistical alternatives.

This solution is more efficient because large delivery services are no longer required to enter city center to reach Ghent University locations and also because the final delivery of packages to their recipients will be handled by one delivery service only who’s employees are familiar with the locations and the people. This will reduce time needed for delivery.

Learn

The pilot project will serve to make clear which obstacles will have to be overcome regarding cooperation as well as producing valuable information about delivery reliability, sustainability (kms avoided, bundling potential, emissions) and efficiency. The fundamentals of (city) logistics, such as a green supply chain, digitization needs and last mile challenges, will also be evaluated.

The pilot project results and the input of the many central and faculty task forces will be analyzed thoroughly in order to make a healthy and sound decision regarding our future approach to logistics.

Practical

LOOP GENT will be launched on 14/9. The participating buyers will reroute through the central hub a number of existing contracts that, today, deliver decentrally. The participating buyers will soon be contacted about further information about the steps being taken within the project. Concretely, this mostly concerns products from Staples.

Do you have any questions or remarks? Please contact the Ghent University Procurement Unit through aankoopbeleid@ugent.be.