Subject and objectives
Cities consume growing amounts of material goods that have to be delivered to their point of consumption (or display / storage for sale). This process is playing a very significant role for the overall efficiency of cities and quality of life of their residents and visitors. Moreover, it represents a relevant part of the vehicle.kms travelled in the city. Consequently, urban freight transport is more and more considered in urban planning (as it contributes to “economies of urbanization”), even generating some environmental and traffic impacts above all concerning the immobile phase related to loading and unloading operations performed on the street.
In literature there is not a unique definition of city logistics, a relatively new concept regarding transportation and distribution of goods within metropolitan areas (Ruske, 1994; Kohler, 1997; Taniguchi et al., 2001). According to the Institute of City Logistics, it can be defined as “the process for totally optimizing the logistics and transport activities by private companies in urban areas while considering the traffic environment, the traffic congestion and energy consumption within the framework of a market economy”.
City logistics can assume different forms according to different urban structures. The presence of a relevant port in a city may lead to a urban freight distribution system characterized by particular issues (in terms of the usage of existing terminals inside the port, scheduling issues, consolidation, regulatory requirements, etc..) due to the presence of huge quantities of goods coming from the port and destined to the same city port. With the presence of a port, the whole city becomes an economic and distribution centre that is not only a space of circulation for loading and unloading.
In cities whose port activity generates significant impacts, such as Hamburg, a percentage of about 30% of loaded/transported goods remains within the city...