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Smart package delivery: Hamburg's SMILE logistics project

Smart Last Mile Logistics (SMILE) creating innovative transport solutions using robots, drones and micro depots - several firms taking part

Hamburg is launching the Smart Last Mile Logistics (SMILE) project to tackle the challenges posed by e-commerce amid increasing package numbers especially in the run-up to Christmas, a press release said Friday (November 25). The city is aiming to become a European model region of sustainability with low emission transport.

Firms and urban authorities have inputted many ideas for intelligently delivering packages on the last mile, which are now being tested and implemented gradually. Proposals range from having packages delivered to new places e.g. companies, stations, by bike or robot as well as using electric and natural gas-run systems. Frank Horch, Senator of Economics, said: “People in Hamburg are justified in their demands for clean air and individual mobility that do not rule each other out. That is particularly important when we are considering traffic.”

Logistic cluster providing impetus

Well-linked cluster initiatives such as the Logistik-Initiative Hamburg are partners of the project, said Horch, adding: “An important principle of cluster policy is linking up commerce and science in a location that benefits mid-sized companies in particular.” The over 500 members of the initiative include institutions in research and development, trade, service providers, as well as many public institutions and Europe’s biggest logistics networks. Together, they are all providing impetus in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. SMILE consists of many partial projects and supports start-ups like the Hamburg-based CiDO that has developed a system for digital access in apartment buildings.

Diverse approaches available

The new solutions range from boxes for packages in residential areas to car boot delivery right up to collection points in firms. Offers for using micro depots in package shops, containers, boxes for packages in the over-the-counter retail sector, delivery on foot or per workbike in the city, electric vehicles and LNG trucks, drone for point-to-point delivery or per robot. Iwan Budnikowsky, Dachser, DPD, Hermes Germany, UPS, Paket-Butler (feldsechs service), CiDo and Pakadoo (LGI Logistics Group International) are taking part in SMILE currently.

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