Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

AUAS and UvA launch logistics hub for sustainable deliveries

Executive Board presidents call on businesses and institutions to take part in hub

29 Jun 2017 10:38 | Communication

The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and the University of Amsterdam (UvA) are working together to achieve smart and sustainable deliveries for their 80 buildings, spread over five campuses throughout the city. A ‘logistics hub’ was officially launched for this purpose today. This concerns a location on the outskirts of Amsterdam, where goods from polluting vehicles are collected and transferred to clean, electrically-powered vehicles. During the official launch of the hub, which has been running as a pilot for some time, Executive Board presidents Huib de Jong (AUAS) and Geert ten Dam (UvA) called on businesses to join the logistics hub.

2.8 million kilometres

The AUAS and the UvA have a tremendous amount of goods and services delivered. The two educational institutions, which have combined the purchasing of goods and services in a single purchasing organisation, deal with a total of around 16,000 suppliers. Each year, all of those suppliers combined make 90,000 delivery trips amounting to a total of 2.8 million kilometres, which is equivalent to circling the earth 70 times. This enormous number of deliveries places a major burden on the environment, and adds to the hustle and bustle and traffic build-up and congestion in the city.

Clean deliveries

Because both the AUAS and the UvA have close ties to the city of Amsterdam and because sustainability is a priority for both organisations, the two institutions have decided to launch the logistics hub. This hub is aimed at suppliers of goods (some 8,000) who together make around 30,000 delivery trips per year, covering a distance of 1 million kilometres. The goal is to reduce the number of trips into the city over time, while simultaneously increasing the load in each vehicle. The hub will use clean, electrically powered vehicles and bicycles and should reduce the number of trips from 30,000 now to around 750 clean delivery trips per year in the future.

Long-term study

The use of a hub is one of the specific outcomes of a long-term study on improving the sustainability of purchasing by the UvA and the AUAS , conducted by AUAS researchers and students, which preceded the development of the hub. AUAS professor Walther Ploos van Amstel and researcher Susanne Balm have been working with suppliers since 2014 to identify the steps needed to make the traffic flows of the UvA and the AUAS more sustainable. Combining deliveries in a hub outside the city was an important recommendation from the study. This has now been achieved in Duivendrecht in cooperation with logistics partners Deudekom (hub manager), PostNL (electric cargo bikes) and Transmission (electric trucks).

Photo: Ria Bierman

Unique: subsidy-free

The approach to the hub is what makes it unique. Whereas other logistics hubs are established using government subsidies, often from municipal authorities, this hub will run without any subsidy at all. Thanks to a smart redistribution of costs between the suppliers and the two educational institutions, the total costs will be no higher than they were previously. At the same time, both parties will benefit from lower fuel costs and less time lost by the suppliers, as well as more effective and cleaner deliveries for the AUAS and the UvA.

The two organisations are currently in the process of contacting all of their suppliers and asking them to join the hub. The first suppliers (Canon, Maas International, Heijmans, CWS and Staples) are already cooperating with the hub. New suppliers will no longer have a choice: participation in the hub will become a compulsory part of new supplier contracts. With this approach, the AUAS and the UvA are the first educational institutions in the Netherlands to set up a non-subsidised smart delivery programme for their own buildings.

A follow-up study will start in September to determine the reduction in kilometres driven in the city thanks to this approach, along with the associated reduction in CO2 emissions.