Urban goods distribution (UGD) is the last part of the supply chain in which goods are delivered in the urban environment.

UGDs are part of very complex supply chains, involving numerous agents and interactions on a global level. They provide service to commerce and consumers by means of various models (goods distribution to city shops, goods deliveries to end customers and distribution of services to people and businesses).

It is carried out mainly through private agents and represents a highly varied sector, with a wide variety of supply chains.

UGD is an essential activity for sustaining urban life, as it provides support for most activities and services that are carried out in the city. It also has a major impact in terms of employment, in both the city and the metropolitan area.

Furthermore, it provides support for the distribution of basic services (commerce, hospitals, facilities, etc.), the urban economy (catering, services, shops, etc.) and the development of the urban metabolism.

But it is also has an impact in terms of emissions, noise, road safety, reckless driving, and occupation of public space.  For this reason, Barcelona City Council has implemented its 2030 strategy for urban goods distribution (UGD) in Barcelona.

UGD in the City of Barcelona

To establish the foundations for the 2030 Barcelona UGD Strategy, Barcelona City Council has carried out cross-cutting work with all the areas involved to produce a diagnosis on the reality and impact of the activity on the city.

One of the points analysed is how the rise in e-commerce has modified traditional distribution models and increased this type of demand in Barcelona: an increase of 43% in two years, driven by the pandemic. New mobility arising from this type of commerce presents a challenge for a city that aims to reduce the use of private vehicles by 25% (2024 urban mobility plan target). The fact that a major increase in e-commerce is forecast also needs to be taken into account.

Furthermore, according to the diagnosis, vans and lorries account for 23% of all city traffic and UGDs generate 31% of PM10 and 34% of NOx particulates detected in Barcelona. Another challenge for the city is to reduce the 2019 statistic of 1,566 accidents involving vans and lorries in Barcelona. With regard to loading and unloading spaces, the City Council has maintained the number of spaces in the city (10,028) and is working to apply measures that reduce public space allocated to UGD.

2030 strategy for urban goods distribution (UGD) in Barcelona

Urban goods distribution (UGD) has a major impact on Barcelona's economic and social activities and especially affects mobility, the environment and public urban space.

For this activity to be carried out in the most competitive, effective, efficient, sustainable and safe way possible, Barcelona City Council has drawn up its 2030 strategy for the urban goods distribution (UGD) in Barcelona. This is a road map that will establish actions and initiatives for the coming years, together with the private sector, with the aim of strengthening the city's commerce and improving the economic competitiveness of businesses and the efficiency of deliveries, while also reducing environmental externalities, the occupation of public space and accidents.

In a context of mobility transformation where a major increase in e-commerce has been detected, the municipal government aims to promote initiatives which, through support for economic activity, also help improve journey efficiency, fostering innovative logistics and employing the latest technologies.

In order to meet these goals, the document sets out seven strategic lines for 2030, while in coming months, the City Council will be promoting a number of measures aimed at making this activity more efficient while reducing negative externalities.

To make the new strategy a reality, while working together with the sector, Barcelona City Council has promoted a major agreement with economic and business associations and the main trade-union organisations. A Coordination Committee will be set up among economic and social stakeholders to debate and foster specific measures, along with a public-private observatory that will generate basic urban goods distribution data, in addition to offering information and resources.

Main points of the strategy

  1. Boost the commerce in the city.
  2. Improve the economic competitiveness of businesses.
  3. Improve UGD efficiency.
  4. Reduce environmental externalities.
  5. Reduce the amount of public space allocated to UGD.
  6. Reduce the number of accidents related to UGD.
  1. Make the offer more flexible and improve the management of parking on city streets.
  2. Permit and boost the appearance of delivery and collection spaces away from city streets (by fostering the use of collection points (CPs) and UGD centres (UGDCs) and creating sustainable last-mile areas (LMAs). 
  3. Promote the greening of UGD fleets, as well as cycle logistics.
  4. Progress toward a “Zero-accident vision” in relation to UGD and minimise reckless driving in this activity.
  5. Guarantee and boost the existence of logistic land integrated into urban areas, at the metropolitan level.
  6. Improve the perception of citizens, establishments and consumers with regard to this activity.
  7.  Increase the awareness of government bodies and operators concerning UGDs, through the creation of an observatory.
  1. Deployment of Urban Goods Distribution Centres (UGDC):
  • Reinforce the “we promote what you do” programme, which consists of providing support for the introduction of UGDCs planned by private initiatives. At present, work is being carried out to promote 8 UGDCs in the following city areas: Sant Martí (Cargobici), Ciutat Vella (Las Mercedes and Mesakas), Sant Andreu (Trèvol), Nou Barris (Fundació Pare Manel), Gràcia (A Pinyó) the Eixample (Ecopo), and throughout the city (A Granel).
  • Increase the number of UGDC and CP pilot projects in the main municipal car park operators (B:SM, SABA, BAMSA). There are currently 17 UGDC pilot projects in municipal car parks.
  • Make full use of the programme that acquires ground-floor establishments for introducing UGDCs. The City Council is acquiring between 60 and 70 establishments which will be renovated and allocated in 2022.
  1. Flexibility in the use of public space: Defining temporary windows for goods deliveries for medium-sized and large vehicles, in order to concentrate deliveries within these time periods and promote cycle logistics at all other times. Night-time UGD will also be promoted, by facilitating the acquisition of new permits. The introduction of 100 new multi-use sites is also being studied. These could be used for loading and unloading and also as new multi-use lanes.
  1. Promotion via municipal markets: Actions that improve the competitiveness and sustainability of municipal markets:
  • As part of the Market Place initiative for municipal markets, instructions for collecting deliveries from the following markets will also be included: Concepció, Lesseps, Provençals, Ninot, Llibertat and Sants; Boqueria, Sant Antoni, Sagrada Família and Guinardó. And  collecting deliveries in B:SM parkings at Boqueria, Sant Antoni, Sagrada Família, Sarrià, Horta, Abaceria, Felip II and Carmel.
  • Centralised sustainable distribution: 15 markets currently offer centralised home-delivery services. Home-delivery services at the markets of Abaceria, Sant Antoni and Poblenou are planned for 2022.
  • The installation of power lines for electricity production (for vehicles) and recharging points for electric vehicles.
  1. Greening vehicle fleets: A working group will be created with the Ministry of Industry, in order to achieve a greater impact on the renewal of vehicle fleets and the acquisition of electric goods vehicles. At the same time, work will be carried out with the General Traffic Directorate (DGT) in order to approve new small vehicles for goods deliveries, starting with e-scooters. The aim is also to ensure the recharging of electric vehicles in the city, by continuing to develop the Endolla Barcelona network.
  1. Creating a UGD observatory: A data centre will be brought into operation in order to collate all the information collected and generated as part of the 2030 UGD Municipal Strategy. All the stakeholders involved will then be able to consult the information and work on establishing new proposals for action.
  1. Training and skills acquisition: Barcelona Activa will design new training programmes to cater for the professional needs of the sector. Multidisciplinary training will be offered, including subjects such as: current regulations, new trends in the sector, waste management within the activity, transport and externalities, technological support tools for the activity, UGD/App SPRO area, route optimisation and planning, occupational health and safety, civic behaviour and best practice, emotional management, practical training, job pool and more.
  1. Fostering Collection Points (CPs): Fostering knowledge about existing collection CPs. The information will be published in the form of a viewer, via a website or app, and a common database will be created, connected to online shops, where the purchaser will be able to choose their CP.
  1. Joint strategy with Mercabarna: A strategy will be defined together with Mercabarna, in order to optimise the delivery of fresh produce to markets, local food shops and hotels, restaurants and cofee shops (HORECA).                                                                                                      
  2. Reducing accidents and reckless driving: plans to increase the installation of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and labels for signposting blind spots in municipal vehicles.