Rethinking how goods are delivered
Ghent is a great place to live, work, study, shop and more. And more and more people seem to agree. The city is growing year after year - and that's a good thing. But there's a downside: growth has a major impact on mobility and therefore on the quality of life in the city.
Anyone trying to get around the city centre these days can't help but notice the heavy traffic. The influx of goods means that, at certain times of day, there are just too many supply chain flows. That not only leads to major traffic problems and frustration, but also significantly increases supply chain costs for carriers and suppliers.
If we want to boost the city's economic vitality and liveability, then we need to rethink urban distribution. By organising incoming and outgoing traffic differently and more efficiently, this link in the supply chain can be made more intelligent and sustainable. Doing so will ensure Ghent remains a pleasant city where everyone can get around easily and safely, a place where it's nice to be and where working, shopping and living can co-exist sustainably.
GentLevert: smart, efficient delivery in the city centre
Smart, environmentally friendly and efficient urban distribution ultimately brings economic, environmental and social benefits for traders, carriers, shoppers and inhabitants. To achieve this, we have to totally rethink the entire supply chain.
The city of Ghent wants to play a leading role while promoting market-driven innovation of urban distribution. Which is why a unique concept was developed with key partners. GentLevert, the urban distribution platform, aims to educate, encourage and coordinate, while keeping abreast of the latest developments. By tracking and monitoring flows of goods, the concept can be adapted and further developed.
The GentLevert urban distribution platform is based on four core principles:
1. Where possible, goods are consolidated at a distribution centre outside the city centre. Trucks deliver and pick up goods at the distribution centres so that they do not have to drive into the city centre.
2. At the distribution centres, goods are consolidated before departing for their final destination. Every vehicle entering the city is optimally loaded.
3. Goods are delivered and picked up in the city by environmentally friendly modes of transport: electric vehicles, cargo bikes, CNG-powered vehicles, etc.
4. To ease logistical and environmental pressure, extra services will be developed for traders and their customers, as well as for suppliers and carriers.
How does GentLevert work?
GentLevert wants to encourage innovative concepts for delivering and picking up goods in the city centre. The concept is being developed through two main approaches:
1. PILOT PROJECTS
GentLevert is forging partnerships with selected supply chain players, which are developing services available to anyone wishing to use them. GentLevert's partners are allowed to deliver 24/7 in the inner city and are allowed to drive directly from one area to another. This benefits their customers in many ways. The partners share data on flows of goods they establish with GentLevert so that they can be analysed. This improves understanding of the situation. Are new services needed? Do new partners need to be found? Should the city authorities tweak their policy?
A forum was set up to get a feeling for what's happening on the ground. It is a place where all of the stakeholders - suppliers, carriers, end customers, etc. - come together and provides a structured sounding board for consultation, monitoring and adjustment. It is a second channel for detecting new needs and opportunities.
A modest start, but big ambitions
Rethinking the entire supply chain requires insight and time. GentLevert provides a solid impetus for tackling urban distribution in Ghent in order to make it smarter, more efficient and more sustainable. GentLevert is an initiative aiming to develop multimodal solutions for the distribution of goods. We're starting off with a limited number of supply chain partners, projects and services. After we analyse the findings and contributions made via the consultation platform, we'll also look into other supply chain solutions, such as transport by water. This will attract more partners and lead to the launch of more projects.