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Will the transport of goods in Madrid collapse?

Last week the newspaper El País published an article asking about the future and viability of freight transport in Madrid. With the headline: “The Amazon effect in Madrid: the city will “collapse” if the package delivery model is not changed”, the text analyzed the problems that currently exist and reviewed some of the solutions that are being sought. from the administration and from the private initiatives of logistics operators and other companies.

The problem of freight transport in Madrid

Ecommerce has been growing at a double-digit rate for years. We are approaching Black Friday, a date that until just a few years ago was unknown in Spain and to which now there is no company that does not sign up. But it is that the calendar is full of events that trigger sales in electronic stores: Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, the various sales seasons, back to school…

“Online sales deliveries will saturate the center of Madrid with vans and trucks if the distribution model does not change, the employers’ association of logistics companies Centro Español de Logística (CEL) warned this Thursday. Purchases with package delivery are already 30% of all Internet transactions in Spain, twice as much as in 2015,” explains El País, citing CEL.

The typology of these shipments corresponding to electronic commerce is very different from that of deliveries to companies or industrial estates, which are much more voluminous. In urban environments, vans and trucks with better tonnage are the protagonists, which means a greater number of vehicles on the roads to move fewer kilos in each load. In addition, the access time restrictions also encourage these trips to accumulate in the same time slots instead of having a distribution throughout the day.

A possible solution

The star proposal included in the text is the creation of micro-distribution centers within large cities. Instead of the more traditional model in which it starts from more distant warehouses, it opts for smaller warehouses but closer to the delivery points. This would shorten the kilometers traveled and allow the same vehicle to perform more services per day.

For this alternative to be viable, it is also often taken into account that these proximity stores can be multi-company. In other words, that various logistics operators share these facilities. This stems from the need to optimize space, both due to the higher price per meter of these warehouses and the difficulty of finding this type of space.

It is important to realize that this problem is not exclusive to Madrid. Other large cities share this concern, and the news includes those of the English capital: “The London authorities presented a great plan in March in order to reduce the traffic of vans and trucks on its streets. At rush hour, these vehicles account for a third of the traffic in the center of the British capital and a fifth in the entire city. The project includes a tender to install lockers in subway stations and the transfer of public land to create micro-distribution centers.

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