City Distribution and Urban Freight Transport

City Distribution and Urban Freight Transport

Multiple Perspectives

NECTAR Series on Transportation and Communications Networks Research

Edited by Cathy Macharis and Sandra Melo

City distribution plays a key role in supporting urban lifestyles, helping to serve and retain industrial and trading activities, and contributing to the competitiveness of regional industry. Despite these positive effects, it also generates negative (economic, environmental and social) impacts on cities worldwide. Relatively little attention has been paid to these issues by researchers and policymakers until recently. The analyses found in City Distribution and Urban Freight Transport aim to improve knowledge in this important area by recognizing and evaluating the problems, with a focus on urban freight transport systems.

Chapter 8: Transport of Goods to and from the Center of Brussels: Using the Port to Improve Sustainability

Tom van Lier and Cathy Macharis

Subjects: environment, transport, geography, cities, urban and regional studies, cities, transport, urban studies


Tom van Lier and Cathy Macharis INTRODUCTION This chapter examines the role inland ports can play in increasing the sustainability of city distribution. By analyzing the external costs linked to incoming and outgoing good flows by barge for a particular inland city port, namely the port of Brussels, and comparing these costs with the external costs linked to road transport, one is able to calculate the societal gain that can be achieved by using barge instead of road transport when transporting goods in and out of cities. The inland port of Brussels, equipped with 12 km of quays and 14 km of waterways, can accommodate ships up to 4500 tons, making it accessible for short sea shipping. Sailing time to the main port of Antwerp is five hours. Since the port of Brussels is located close to the center of the city, it creates the opportunity to open up Brussels for the transport of goods via inland waterways and enables city distribution from the port. The port can thus contribute to a more sustainable mobility since transporting these goods by barges represents a reduction in the number of trucks on the road. On the other hand, being located so close to the center of the Belgian capital also creates pressure on the port and its industrial and logistic activities from various societal groups and real-estate developers. These stakeholders oppose the development of logistic activities in an urban environment for various reasons. Calculating exactly how much more sustainable this mobility by...

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