Shipping & Logistics

City Logistics the key strategy for mobility, livability

Nairobi city lanes full of vehicles. file PHOTO | NMG
Nairobi city lanes full of vehicles. file PHOTO | NMG 

Concerns about the environmental impact of urban freight transport are growing along with population density and urban congestion.

Thankfully, awareness of the need for sustainable urban development is also on the rise and the coordination of traffic and logistics is receiving greater attention.

Yet the need is urgent for more efficient and effective freight transport systems that not only address costs but also tackle environmental issues such as noise, air pollution, vibration and visual intrusion.

This is especially so in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Thika and Nakuru.

These challenges can be addressed using the concept of City Logistics. City Logistics can be defined as “the process for totally optimising the logistics and transport activities by private companies with the support of advanced information systems in urban areas considering the traffic environment, its congestion, safety and energy savings within the framework of a market economy.”

It’s time to create real visions for logistics in our cities. We can start by setting targets for what can be achieved by applying this forward-looking concept in capital city first, then the rest follow.

City Logistics presents us with three targets: mobility, sustainability and livability. Mobility is the central component for ensuring smooth and reliable traffic flow including freight traffic.

Sustainability is necessary for making cities more environmentally friendly while livability is also an essential element and one that has garnered growing importance most recently as the number of elderly residents in cities is on the rise.

Urban freight transport involves shippers, freight carriers, administrators and residents (consumers) — a configuration made all the more complex by the often times varying visions among these stakeholders. Simply put: they have different goals and interests.

More efficient logistics for cities is of course going to take some regulation of the sector and good enforcement in urban areas to ensure smooth traffic flow and a better environment for all.