Mechelen (BE)

Mechelen is one of the 13 big cities in Flanders. It has an excellent connection with Brussels and Antwerp. That makes it an interesting place for the distribution sector. So there are several companies who are specialist in the distribution of goods.

Mechelen is also an historic city with a marvellous history. The many churches, historical buildings and works of art make of the city a real pole of attraction for tourists and Belgian visitors. It is also the city’s intention to be a liveable pleasant outdoor shopping mall, that can be competitive with existing shopping malls end retail parks in the area. The inner-city is a large open air shopping center. It seats over 55.000 m2 commercial space and contains 686 shops.The vacancy rate is 6.6%. The downtown area has an attractive shopping environment with the Market as an important start and / or end point. There are 83.099 inhabitants in Mechelen, in the inner-city there are 18.000 inhabitants.

Mechelen wants to attract young families to the city. This is not compatible with a high volume of motorized logistics vehicles. The city has to be attractive. However this liveability can’t be a threat for the accessibility of the city. Accessibility for delivery is of huge importance in accomplishing the economic ambition. The city is always looking for a balance between the two assumptions.

So Mechelen created a car-restricted zone in the inner-city. It’s the plan to expand that zone on a really short term. Cameras with number plate recognition control the access of the car-restricted zone. So when a van wrongfully enters the city he gets a fine.

The mobility policy in Mechelen is to promote pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The city has taken the commitment to guarantee the accessibility of the city for pedestrians and bicycles. So there is an investment in infrastructure. We want to create an expansion of cycling along the canal highways and railways. In the near future the city is planning to build a green bike around the city. The goal is to have a good digestion for the existing residential areas. It’s the ambition to develop a dense local network for bicycles.

This initiative is in line with the ambition to become a climate neutral city. By signing the covenant of mayors the city commits to energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources in their territory. By this convenant he city has a commitment to achieve a reduction of 20% CO2 by 2020. Measurements confirm 25% of the CO2 emissions in the city to be directly related to traffic.

So the participation in the project ‘Cyclelogistics Ahead’ fits completely in this context.

In the first months the city wants to have a clear view of the mobility related problems caused by deliveries in the center and the volume that enters the city. We started a study toinvestigate the impact of  the delivery to every organization in the inner-city, of e-commerce on the traffic and the extensive study of good flows within the organization of the city.  The goal is to finish the study at the beginning of 2015.This issue gives us the opportunity to share this important information with people who are interested to become a cargo biker. They can use this information to make their business plan. Within the organization it’s also the intent to make our own flow of goods greener with cargo bikes.

We want to implement a micro consolidation center, where the shopper can pick up their purchased goods. In the end this will be used as micro consolidation for the last mile. We want to experiment with three types of micro consolidation centers. In the beginning we want to test with a few traders, so we can learn our lessons before we involve every trader. For the professionalization we intent to make an IT-platform with communication between trader, cargo biker and shopper.  

In cooperation with the Flemish government we will inform other cities and cargo bikers about our project. So they are able to create wia Flemish network of cargo bikers. 

VIL (Vlaams Instituut voor de Logistiek) – Flanders Institute for Logistics

VIL is a knowledge centre that was set up in 2003 by the Flemish Government under impulse of the logistics sector in Flanders. 

VIL is set up as a membership organization that thanks to various successful and innovative logistics projects enjoys an increasingly strong reputation in the logistics landscape.  Today more than 430 members arguably form the logistics community in Flanders.

The mission of VIL is to increase the competitiveness of Flanders’ logistic companies.  To achieve this VIL focuses on the execution and implementation of collective research projects.  Collective means that for every project there must be a real support by the sector and that a number of partners effectively participate in the project and also financially support it.  After approval these projects are supported for 80%.

VIL wants to present specific and practical solutions to logistics companies.  Every project is aimed at solving problems that companies encounter on a day to day basis.  Results are validated in real life situations.  As such VIL offers opportunities to logistics companies to improve their competitiveness and supports growth. 

VIL disseminates this knowledge through publications, workshops with the VIL experts, a bimonthly newsletter, the website and the organization of events.

The EU supported Cyclelogistics project clearly fits the bill when it comes to finding solutions for an efficient and clean logistics in urban centres.  Many of our members are faced with this every day.

Therefore, VIL participates in this project with the following ambitions:

  • Offer our broad logistics know-how to support the modelling of cycling logistics in urban centres.
  • Support the implementation of cycling logistics (under the form of a LIVING LAB) by means of knowledge transfer and access to our extensive logistics network  (+ 430 members)
  • Effectively promote to our members and contacts the various aspects and possibilities of inner city logistics by means of cycling logistics based on the generic lessons learned.
  • Exchange of experience and knowledge with the Cyclelogistics Federation.

 VIL will proceed as a neutral stakeholder and as applied research is our core business our main focus will be on the support of the effective demonstration (LIVING LAB) and the promotion thereof.