Amsterdam councilors led by Elisabeth IJmker (GroenLinks) are calling for a motion for an Amsterdam lobby for a delivery charge for consumers who occasionally get parcels delivered. This happens on average once a week in a Dutch household. We need to have “delivery shame”. Delivery vans delivering packages would lead to traffic jams, road safety and polluted air.
SME Amsterdam responded enthusiastically to the motion: “If you do nothing, the stores will melt faster than the North Pole ice caps.” According to the interest group, more and more shops are disappearing in the Amsterdam area and the rise of flash delivery companies is causing a significant drop in sales.
It is not true that the shops of Amsterdam are doing badly. We make less than 10% of our purchases online. In addition, we are increasingly making these purchases from local stores with their own online store. In September this year, retail trade turnover was 5.3% higher than in September 2021, reports Statistics Netherlands. The online turnover of stores for which online sales are a secondary activity (omnichannel) even increased by 12.2%. They are smart entrepreneurs who understand the consumer.
Retail is gaining jobs and e-commerce is helping. Prosperous or growing cities have a vibrant retail business. Retail vacancy rates are falling in the Amsterdam area and more space is needed for new stores. Stone shops always win.
It is true that residential areas of Amsterdam are filling up with delivery vans. One in five vehicles in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht is a van or delivery truck. And it’s getting more and more. Incidentally, only 5% of these delivery vans are on the road for consumers. Parcels are mainly transported for businesses.
The environmental impact of our online purchases seems to be positive. Physical store purchases generate 1.5 to 2.9 times more greenhouse gas emissions than online purchases. Although e-commerce goes through vans, this mode of shopping divides automobile traffic by four to nine. This is also reflected in Dutch research, as parole recently wrote. There’s no reason for delivery shame.
More than 80% of diesel freight traffic in major cities is for businesses, mostly small and medium-sized businesses, mainly for construction, catering, shops, offices and waste collection.
Indeed, the growing logistics traffic no longer matches Amsterdam’s low traffic ambitions. Vehicles take up too much space, are not safe and are not good for our health. MKB Amsterdam’s post elicits a reaction: be careful what you wish for. Soon the municipality will announce a zero emission zone. Either the municipality will stop the quasi-free parking exemption for SME entrepreneurs who often have to be in town. This concerns hundreds of thousands of delivery vans and 60% of these vans are owned by SMEs.
The city delivery pricing proposal is a great plan if you are aiming for such a delivery fee on large delivery flows with diesel vehicles. Then we precisely reward entrepreneurs who get to town efficiently, with many expeditions in one clean vehicle. We therefore encourage entrepreneurs who travel with their own means of transport (and only have one or two shipments in the back of the car) to group together, cooperate and above all outsource to professionals. This leads to less delivery traffic in the city.
A delivery charge for home delivery? I would think a little more. If the GroenLinks fox preaches passion, it can sometimes come back like a boomerang.
Walther Ploos van Amstel, lecturer in urban logistics at AUAS and member of the advisory committee on Retail South
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