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Comparative Study on Urban Logistics and Last Mile Delivery Processes in Germany and China

In recent years, the e-commerce and online retail sector in Germany and China experienced an unparalleled rise in parcel volumes. The COVID-19 pandemic and thus the increased shift to online activities encouraged this development. Simultaneously, climate protection and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions have become a high priority. Negative effects of last mile deliveries and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions have to be mitigated with various measures. For this, urban agglomerations and their parcel service networks are essential to promote the development of technological innovation as well as low carbon delivering methods and thus are benefitting a closer investigation.

This study by the Bergische Universität Wuppertal (BUW) focusses on the comparison of the last mile delivery organisation and urban logistics in Berlin, Germany and Suzhou, China. It builds on two previous studies about the courier, express and parcels (CEP) markets in Germany and China. Furthermore, the study takes a look at Berlin’s and Suzhou’s city profiles in terms of economy, transport, and parcel delivery network. By comparing the cities’ structures and their approach to last mile deliveries, greenhouse gas emissions saving potentials for Berlin will be analysed and discussed.

The comparison illustrates the significant differences between Germany and China on a national level concerning the handling and organisation of the parcel market. Furthermore, the model calculations reveal that alternative last mile delivery concepts and the bundling of parcels at pick-up points can lead to significant greenhouse gas saving potentials. In addition, the study shows that the data basis on parcel deliveries in Germany is lacking. Thorough monitoring of parcel delivery enterprises is an essential step to assure data availability and thus data-based low-carbon deliveries. Nevertheless, the measures always have to be considered in the local framework and structures for each case.

Previous studies, further results and subsequent policy recommendations for different stakeholders can be found in the full document below.