‘Better Brussels policy on e-commerce can lead to greener capital’
The freight transport sector is booming in the Belgian capital, not least thanks to e-commerce. It leads to enormous needs for small storage places and drop-off points scattered all over the city. This is what emerges from a study by Perspective.brussels and Brussels Mobility. Both organizations also note that better urban planning of this type of new activity can lead to a remarkable reduction of CO2 emissions.
800.000 goods movements per week
Brussels records no less than 800.000 goods movements per week, the study says. These logistic activities, or the transport of goods between suppliers, go-between agents and end customers, can often be found in the outskirts, in the north of the capital.
This is due to real estate pressure and the attractiveness of the areas close to the airport and located between Brussels and Antwerp, the two major Belgian cities. It’s also not surprising when we know that the vast majority of this transport activity is done by road and therefore seeks good motorway accessibility.
Return to the city
But the study observes a fairly recent phenomenon: with the explosion of e-commerce, with formulas such as ‘delivered within the hour’, logistics is taking and increasingly important place, both in mobility and in the Brussels economy.
Hence the need to encourage the return of these activities to the city, after the example of what Paris has done, the study’s authors say.
Reduction of CO2 emissions
The French capital has revised its urban planning. For example, by reusing underground spaces to accommodate the handling of goods.
Nothing of this sort has yet been done in Brussels. Among the ideas put forward are authorizing such spaces in the ‘equipment’ allocation of the regional zoning plan (Gewestelijk Bestemmingsplan, GBP) or using the regional environment code (Cobrace) to reuse certain underground car parks of private companies to handle goods.
According to a study conducted in Flanders, if people use more relay points or Bpost’s network points for their internet orders, e-commerce-related CO2 emissions could be reduced by 60 to 80%.