deliveries from 7 companies will be collected from July – Ghent University

From a logistical point of view, Ghent University is a very diverse organization: a very wide range of purchased products and services, a wide range of delivery addresses and delivery methods, different ways of reaching orders … Such logistical fragmentation leads to many (sometimes small) deliveries, which in turn lead to disruptions, many transports and many kilometers driven parallel to the final destination. This fragmentation also leads to higher costs. Through this pilot project, Ghent University wants to gain further insight into how the principles of sustainable urban logistics can help Ghent University achieve more sustainable and efficient logistics processes and keep overall costs under control.

The LOOP project

LOOP @ UGent stands for Logistic optimization at Ghent University† The aim is to optimize the internal and external logistics processes, especially in terms of sustainability, efficiency and the overall cost price.

One of the key ideas is to go for as much as possible bundling on deliveries to reduce the number of disruptions due to delivery times and also to reduce the distance that carriers travel to Ghent University in the city. A third step is to ‘green’ the remaining distance as much as possible.

Learning through pilot projects

In recent years, a first pilot project has been initiated with one supplier, where the supply takes place via a central urban hub. This was in collaboration with the city of Ghent, which participated with 3 suppliers.

The pilot showed that both a CO2 reduction and a reduction in the number of kilometers driven in the city can be achieved by collecting quantities, using freight bicycles and sustainable vans.

In a next pilot project, we want to apply the same method to several suppliers. In addition to sustainability, this should also provide better insight into goals, such as more efficient deliveries and declining delivery costs with increasing volumes.

What exactly does the other pilot mean?

A number of key suppliers were found willing to – on a voluntary basis – deliver Ghent University from July 2022 to the end of the year in accordance with the principles of sustainable urban logistics. They will deliver the goods destined for Ghent University to a central city center on the outskirts of Ghent. Deliveries will be bundled across the various suppliers and brought to Ghent University’s websites via a sustainable van or cargo bike. The delivery frequency is set at 2 times a week.

Increasing the number of participating suppliers and thus increasing the quantity delivered will increase the impact on sustainability compared to the previous pilot. In addition to the sustainability parameters, the impact of our internal delivery points will be examined, as well as the positive effect of a larger quantity on delivery costs. Finally, insight is gained into the motivations for our suppliers to switch to supply via a central urban hub and a sustainable ‘load mile’. Only if we succeed in reaching a win-win story will a breakthrough in the implementation of such a system be achievable.

As during the first pilot project, Ghent University is collaborating with BDLogistics. They make sure to report CO2 reduction, reduction in the number of kilometers driven, reduction of driving times indoors, as well as reduction in the number of ‘disruptions’ to employees due to delivery times.

Preliminary results from the preparation of the second pilot project

It was learned from the preparations for the pilot project that the support for green urban logistics among UGent’s suppliers has increased significantly over the past 2 years. The larger volume within this pilot has a positive effect on the pricing of the green ‘last mile’. This made the cost of green logistics more feasible for a large number of suppliers compared to a few years ago. Witness the 7 instead of 1 participant with this pilot. Collection of deliveries on 2 fixed delivery days (Tuesday and Thursday) also means significant logistical cost savings for the participating suppliers. It may take a little getting used to for UGent employees, but on the other hand, there are far fewer disruptions and of course a great realization in terms of sustainability.

Participating vendors in this second pilot are Chemlab, Lab9, MANUTAN, MIKO, Novolab, Staples and Westburg.

Ghent University wishes to express its gratitude to these suppliers for supporting the importance of the LOOP objectives.

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