City hubs today
Also read City hubs towards emission-free cities, our analysis of city hubs and their role in the future of urban and emission-free mobility.
City hub as a company
Various companies already offer specific city hub services, such as City Depot (Belgium) and City Hub (Netherlands). The aim is the same: companies use the centre as a storage location, out of where the last mile is provided in a sustainable way.
Some city hubs do not only offer storage and centralisation, but they offer a green solution for the last mile as well. In City Hub, for instance, companies can choose to provide the last mile using their own vehicles or using a green last-mile solution of City Hub, explains Gerard Gerritsen, CEO of City Hub.
In the latter scenario, City Hub offers various green last-mile carriers, such as bicycles, goupils (small electric vans), and even electric transport over water (as from autumn 2018). As a consequence, companies do not have to worry about technical and legal aspects of urban traffic restrictions.
Company as a city hub
The above-mentioned city hubs are organised by external companies, but carriers are setting up city hubs as well. DHL even created mobile city hubs, by letting DHL vans deliver customised containers at central locations. The loads of these containers are loaded on the company’s cargo bikes, Cubicycles, to provide the last mile. DHL Express has already replaced up to 60% of inner-city vehicle routes in some European countries by its cargo bikes.
Any company that has a large amount of business in a centralised location can consider setting up a corporate city hub, to save time and money related to shipping costs. Customers could pick up the delivery at the hub, or only a few green corporate vehicles can perform the last-mile service, rather than cleaning up the entire fleet at once.
Image: DHL Cubicycles on the road in Antwerp, Belgium.