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Dublin Council's Plan For A Last-Mile Delivery Service Faces Obstacles

Taxi rank on O'Connell Street Dublin

Dublin City Council is planning to create a last-mile delivery service in a bid to  ease Dublin's €350M-a-year congestion bill.

The council will build on a pilot project with parcels giant UPS which involved creating a freight aggregation centre in the city centre, Fora reports.

A joint initiative to tender with Belfast City Council suggests the creation of new mini-logistics hubs to collect inward deliveries from retailers and parcels businesses, and then to distribute them from the hub to user locations. It is part of a series of initiatives by Smart Dublin.

The idea of freight aggregation — often using electric vehicles for last-mile delivery — has been piloted in a number of cities, but so far on a small scale. Southampton is among a handful of examples. Since 2014 the city's Sustainable Distribution Centre has been operated by Meachers.

The proposal faces some formidable obstacles, not the least of which is uncertainty about how popular such a service would be.

The invitation to tender concedes there is no data on the volume of freight activity in the city centre, and admits that retailers are generally happy with their existing delivery systems.

"We are confident that innovative and new approaches are possible, leveraging new technology opportunities and business models which can also ensure the future competitiveness of Dublin and Belfast," the document said.

The deadline for responses is 18 June 2018.