top of page

[Whitepaper] From Traditional to Sustainable: The Phased Evolution of Logistics

 Curated multi-carrier network and smart orchestration driving detailed optimizations within the first, middle and last mile of each package.

 

 

The whitepaper entitled "From Traditional to Sustainable: The Phased Evolution of Logistics" analyzes the urgent need for the logistics industry to transition from traditional practices to sustainable solutions. This transformation is presented in three phases - the current dominance of traditional logistics (Phase 1), the adoption of sustainable practices (Phase 2), and the normalization of green initiatives as the industry standard (Phase 3). The whitepaper also provides a comprehensive examination of the delivery chain, the role of curated multi-carrier networks, emerging trends, and strategies for overcoming challenges associated with adopting sustainable logistics.

Traditional logistics have relied heavily on fossil fuel-powered vehicles, leading to increased carbon emissions and environmental pollution. This model is proving to be increasingly untenable due to shifting consumer preferences towards sustainability, as well as stricter environmental regulations being enforced globally. Next, technological innovation and development of new technical capabilities for merchant hasn´t been on top of the agenda yet within traditional logistics.

 

The whitepaper emphasizes the importance of focusing on the entire delivery chain - the first mile (collection of goods), middle mile (intermediary transport), and last mile (final delivery to the customer). Each segment of the delivery chain presents unique challenges and opportunities for implementing sustainable practices. For instance, optimizing routes, reducing empty backhauls, and employing sustainable transport modes in the first mile can considerably reduce inefficiencies and environmental impact.

 

One of the key focuses of the whitepaper is the power of the most sophisticated multi-carrier network available in driving sustainability. By collaborating with diverse carriers and logistics providers, this network optimizes efficiency and reduce environmental footprint across the entire delivery chain. The whitepaper presents a case study on Bringly, a sustainable delivery platform that demonstrates the effectiveness of splitting the first, middle and last mile amongst a curated multi-carrier network. This offers merchants to control and optimize their carbon footprint and customer experience already.

 

Furthermore, the whitepaper discusses emerging trends in sustainable logistics, such as the electrification of vehicles, the adoption of bikes and micro-mobility solutions, route optimization, capacity planning, and the application of data analytics and artificial intelligence. These trends, coupled with collaboration and information-sharing platforms, play a crucial role in transitioning towards greener logistics practices.

 

However, the adoption of sustainable logistics is not without challenges. The whitepaper suggests a step-by-step approach to implementing green practices, from setting achievable goals to monitoring performance. Incentivizing sustainable choices through subsidies and regulatory incentives, standardizing best practices, and educating stakeholders are also essential to facilitate this transition.

 

In conclusion, this whitepaper makes a compelling case for the logistics industry to commit to a phased transition towards sustainability. By embracing green initiatives, leveraging smart orchestration technology, and fostering collaboration, the logistics sector can significantly reduce its environmental impact, meet the evolving demands of consumers, and ensure compliance with regulatory standards. This shift not only presents an opportunity for the industry to contribute to environmental preservation but also to gain a competitive advantage and ensure long-term resilience and growth.

Management summary

Introduction

1.1 Background
The logistics industry serves as the backbone of global trade, connecting suppliers, manufacturers, and consumers across vast distances. However, traditional logistics practices have led to significant environmental consequences, including increased carbon emissions, air pollution, and congestion. The need to transition from traditional logistics to a sustainable model is now more important than ever. This transition is broken down into three phases: the dominance of traditional logistics (Phase 1), moving towards sustainability (Phase 2), and making green the new standard (Phase 3).

1.2 Objectives
This whitepaper aims to explore these three phases, understand the need for sustainable logistics, analyze the delivery chain, and evaluate the role of multi-carrier networks in driving sustainability. The objectives of this whitepaper are as follows:

  • To demonstrate the environmental impact of traditional logistics and the urgency of implementing sustainable practices.

  • To emphasize the significance of splitting and addressing sustainability in the first, middle, and last mile of the delivery chain.

  • To showcase the benefits of curated multi-carrier networks in enabling sustainable last-mile deliveries.

  • To identify and discuss trends within the logistics industry that support the transition towards greener and more efficient practices.

  • To explore the challenges faced in adopting sustainable logistics and provide strategies for overcoming them.

  • To inspire stakeholders within the logistics sector to prioritize sustainability, embrace collaboration, and drive positive change.

  • By addressing these objectives, this whitepaper aims to empower logistics stakeholders to actively participate in fostering sustainability and setting new industry standards.
     

The Need for Sustainable Logistics
 

2.1 Environmental Impact of Traditional Logistics
In the current situation, traditional logistics practices heavily rely on fossil fuel-powered vehicles, contributing to a significant carbon footprint. The emissions from transportation not only contribute to climate change but also degrade air quality, leading to detrimental health effects. The technical capabilities offered by traditional carriers to merchants often have been limited to keep control. By adopting sustainable logistics practices, such as using cleaner vehicles and optimizing routes, the industry can reduce its environmental impact.

2.2 Shifting Consumer Expectations
Consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable and eco-friendly practices from the companies they support. The delivery experience is no exception, with customers prioritizing green delivery options and expecting transparency regarding environmental initiatives. This marks the needs for transitioning into phase 2. To remain competitive and retain customer loyalty, logistics providers must adapt to these shifting consumer expectations.

2.3 Regulatory Pressures
Governments and regulatory bodies worldwide are implementing stricter regulations to mitigate climate change and reduce emissions (e.g. from 2025 gas-powered vehicles will not be able to enter multiple Dutch city centers). This should drive the industry towards phase 3 where green becomes the standard. Compliance with environmental regulations is becoming a crucial aspect of operating in the logistics industry. By proactively adopting sustainable practices, companies can avoid penalties and stay ahead of regulatory requirements.

The Delivery Chain: First, Middle, and Last Mile

3.1 First Mile: Challenges and Opportunities
The first mile of the delivery chain involves collecting goods from suppliers and transporting them to distribution centers or warehouses. However, the first mile can also refer to the collection of parcels at these distribution centers. Both are often marked by inefficiencies, including empty backhauls and excessive fuel consumption. However, it also presents opportunities for improvement through better coordination, consolidation, and utilization of more sustainable transport modes.

 

3.2 Middle Mile: Optimization and Efficiency
The middle mile focuses on transporting goods between distribution centers, warehouses and/or local (city) hubs. Parcels collected at a warehouse usually need to be brought to regional or local (city) hubs. This segment offers opportunities for optimization through route planning, load consolidation, and the adoption of technology-driven solutions. By streamlining operations, reducing empty miles, and embracing sustainable vehicles, logistics providers can significantly improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

3.3 Last Mile: Customer Experience and Emissions Reduction
The last mile, from a regional or city hub to the customer's doorstep, is a critical phase where sustainability and customer experience intersect. Efficient and sustainable last-mile delivery requires careful planning, the use of eco-friendly vehicles, and leveraging technologies such as route optimization and real-time tracking. By prioritizing green solutions and providing a seamless customer experience, logistics providers can differentiate themselves in the market.

The Power of Bringly's Curated Multi-Carrier Network

4.1 Importance of Collaboration and Partnership
Collaboration is essential in moving from Phase 1 to Phase 3. Building out Bringly's curated multi-carrier network involves collaborating with different carriers and logistics providers to optimize efficiency and sustainability across the entire delivery chain. By leveraging the strengths of each partner, such networks can offer comprehensive solutions, increased coverage, and improved service quality.

 

4.2 Bringly: A Case Study in Sustainable Delivery Network
Bringly, a sustainable delivery platform, exemplifies the power of curated multi-carrier network. It is an example of Phase 2, with a focus on sustainability. Through smart combinations of carriers deploying several type of vehicles, such as bikes and electric vehicles, Bringly can offer fast, efficient, and eco-friendly delivery options from warehouses and shops. Bringly’s orchestration engine splits the first, middle and last mile to offer merchants the possibility to optimize step by step, parcel by parcel. Next, by offering a complete end-to-end solution for merchants, traditional volumes currently delivered by traditional players can more easily be transformed and/or rerouted to more sustainable alternatives within the curated carrier network.

 

4.3 Benefits of a Multi-Carrier Approach
This curated multi-carrier network provides several benefits, including increased flexibility, improved geographic coverage, and reduced reliance on traditional carriers with higher emissions. By leveraging diverse carriers and transport modes within the first, middle and last mile, logistics providers can optimize routes, utilize more sustainable vehicles, and reduce their environmental footprint.

4.4 Enabling Sustainable Last-Mile Deliveries
The curated multi-carrier network of Bringly plays a crucial role in enabling sustainable last-mile deliveries. By incorporating various modes of transportation, such as bikes, electric vehicles, and optimized route planning, these networks minimize emissions and enhance the overall sustainability of the delivery process. Offering services like “Ship-from-Store” offer the opportunity to reduce the distance traveled for each local delivery tremendously. When injecting these local stocks into national networks, still part of the delivery chain can be done completely CO2-neutral. Through Bringly's multi-carrier network, sustainable last-mile deliveries can become standard practice in Phase 3.

Trends in Sustainable Logistics

5.1 Electrification of Vehicles
The shift towards electric vehicles (EVs) offers significant potential for reducing emissions in logistics. Rapid advancements in EV technology, coupled with supportive infrastructure and government incentives, are making electric logistics fleets increasingly viable and cost-effective.

 

5.2 Bike and Micro-Mobility Solutions
Utilizing bikes, Light Electric Vehicles (LEV’s) and micro-mobility solutions for last-mile deliveries presents a sustainable alternative to traditional vehicles. Bikes and LEV’s offer flexibility, maneuverability, and zero emissions, making them an ideal option for urban environments and short-distance deliveries.

5.3 Route Optimization and Capacity Planning
Leveraging data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning algorithms can optimize routes, reduce empty miles, and improve capacity planning. These technologies help logistics providers achieve efficient operations, lower costs, and minimize environmental impact.

 

5.4 Data Analytics and AI for Efficiency Gains
Harnessing the power of data analytics and artificial intelligence can lead to efficiency gains in logistics operations. By analyzing historical data, logistics providers can identify opportunities for optimization, adapt to demand fluctuations, and make data-driven decisions to enhance sustainability.

5.5 Collaboration and Information Sharing Platforms
Collaboration and information sharing platforms enable logistics stakeholders to exchange data, resources, and insights. Bringly's orchestration engine offers both local as national volumes, which offers merchants and carriers the advantage of gathering more data and insights, which can be used for logistics innovations and real-time optimizations (e.g. load balancing). Next, it is possible to facilitate coordination, optimize asset utilization, and foster partnerships that promote sustainability throughout the delivery chain.

Overcoming Challenges and Driving Change

6.1 Implementing Green Practices Step by Step
Transitioning to sustainable logistics requires a step-by-step approach, moving from Phase 1 through Phase 2 and into Phase 3, by adopting sustainable practices incrementally. By setting achievable goals, implementing pilot projects, and monitoring performance, logistics providers can systematically integrate green practices into their operations.

 

It is usually not possible to directly shift all the volumes delivered by traditional carriers towards a sustainable alternative, but it starts by having a clear insight into their own operation and the available green options. Only then it will be easier to migrate volumes into a curated multi-carrier network of Bringly in which part of the first, middle and/or last mile will be executed in an efficient and green way. Bringly offers the unique technical capabilities needed for merchants to get the right data, insights and tools to start the shift.

 

6.2 Incentivizing Sustainable Choices
Governments, industry associations, and consumers can play a crucial role in incentivizing sustainable choices. Regulatory incentives, subsidies for eco-friendly vehicles, and consumer demand for green delivery options can drive logistics providers to adopt sustainable practices.

 

6.3 Standardization and Best Practices
Standardizing sustainable practices and developing industry-wide best practices are vital for driving widespread adoption. Collaboration between stakeholders, sharing knowledge, and establishing guidelines can create a cohesive framework that supports the transition to sustainable logistics.

 

6.4 Educating and Raising Awareness
Education and awareness initiatives are instrumental in fostering a sustainability mindset within the logistics industry. By promoting knowledge-sharing, training programs, and highlighting success stories, stakeholders can inspire others to prioritize sustainability and take proactive steps towards greener operations.

MediaMarkt Benelux Urban Last Mile Delivery Bringly.jpg

Sustainability plays an important role in our strategy, the collaboration with Bringly helps us in the BeNeLux to realize this. Reducing CO2 emissions in last mile delivery is an important step and we are delighted to be able to offer our customers bicycle delivery. With this collaboration we can integrate our online and offline channels even better, we make delivery more sustainable and reduce traffic in and around cities."

Pieter,

Supply Chain Director

MediaMarkt

Conclusion

7.1 Key Takeaways
The logistics industry must undergo a phased transition from traditional to sustainable practices, moving through three phases of evolution. This whitepaper has underscored the importance of prioritizing sustainability in the first, middle, and last mile of the delivery chain. By adopting green practices, leveraging curated Bringly's multi-carrier network and orchestration engine, and embracing sustainable trends, logistics stakeholders can reduce their environmental impact, enhance operational efficiency, and meet the evolving demands of consumers.

7.2 The Path to Sustainable Logistics
The path to sustainable logistics requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses all stages of the delivery chain. By prioritizing green initiatives, such as electrification of vehicles, utilizing bikes and micro-mobility solutions, optimizing routes, and embracing collaboration and smart orchestration technology amongst multiple carrier networks, logistics providers and brands can drive positive change.

 

7.3 Embracing Green Initiatives
To achieve a structural system change within logistics, stakeholders must commit to a transition through all three Phases. This entails setting ambitious sustainability goals, implementing green practices step by step, incentivizing sustainable choices, and promoting standardization and best practices across the industry. Education and awareness initiatives are also vital to foster a sustainability mindset and inspire stakeholders to take proactive steps towards a greener future.

 

By prioritizing sustainability, logistics stakeholders and brands have the opportunity to not only reduce their environmental impact but also gain a competitive advantage, enhance customer loyalty, and contribute to a more sustainable and resilient world.

Together, let us embrace green initiatives, collaborate, and drive the necessary changes in logistics to create a future where sustainability is ingrained in the fabric of the industry. By working towards a structural system change, Bringly's technology drives the building of a logistics sector that not only meets the needs of today but also ensures a sustainable and thriving future for generations to come. 

Ready to drive the transition to sustainable logistics?

Contact us today to learn how our curated multi-carrier network and innovative solutions can help your business achieve green last-mile deliveries and contribute to a greener future. Let's work together towards a more sustainable and efficient logistics industry.

bottom of page