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Tuesday 18 October 2011

Take a tip from Utrecht: Sustainable Distribution of Goods in and around the city

Here you have an original idea of distribution of goods. The city of Utrecht uses boats and electric vehicles.

Small, winding streets in historical city centres that were not built to fit today’s traffic represent common problems for many historical European cities.
Residents are complaining and are no longer willing to accept noise and exhaust from lorry pipes and vans passing by quite often only to deliver a small package. Furthermore, narrow streets can be completely blocked while goods are delivered.
In addition CO2 emissions with the constant stopping and starting of vans are huge.

Utrecht found the solution: the Cargohopper!


A pick-up point for all small packages and deliveries of goods was created on the outskirts of the city. A delivery service using the cargohopper drives from the pick-up point to the inner city avoiding CO2 emissions.

Furthermore, building on the success of Cargohopper I, the transport company Hoek has just launched Cargohopper II, the 2nd generation solar powered electric distribution trailer capable of covering a wider area in and around city of Utrecht.

Designed to carry heavier and bigger loads than its predecessor, the new version Cargohopper II also comes with the added features of a larger action radius and faster speeds. It is now delivering to supply stores in the outskirts of Utrecht and even the surrounding cities. Cargohopper II is also used for the assembly and delivery of construction materials to build the new central train station and other construction projects in the centre of Utrecht.

The Cargohopper project represents a quality city distribution system partnership model where the transport company, government and commercial trade work successfully together. The city of Utrecht for its part facilitates a location for the distribution centre and allows the Cargohopper to drive outside time windows within the environmental zones for the delivery of goods.

Vice mayor of Utrecht Frits Lintmeijer commented: ’We were proud that Utrecht in 2009 had the scoop of the first Cargohopper in the Netherlands. With the launch of Cargohopper ll we can conclude that it is a lasting innovative concept for sustainable freight traffic.’ Cargohopper l will continue to deliver cargo from the distribution centre towards the inner-city of Utrecht. It is a clean, quiet and fast system.


2010 saw the launch of Utrecht’s 1st Beerboat, a zero emission boat, transporting frozen and perishable fresh products. With the arrival of a 2nd boat (due April 2012), options for waterways freight transport increases, reducing (garbage) trucks in the inner city and the emission of CO2. The new vessel is four meters longer than the current Beerboat, this Multi-Purpose Boat comes with several added features including transportation of larger and heavier cargo, waste collection and the ability to empty wheelie bins. It can also be used by enterprises and individuals for different kinds of projects.

Check out the video on this innovative CO2 emissions free way of urban transportation of goods:


Berlin Looks at Adopting Utrecht Beer Boat

Like Utrecht, Berlin has many waterways that could equally benefit from the beer boat. Under the supervision of the Berlin Institute of Technology, studies are underway to see the transfer potential of Utrecht’s very successful beer boat to the centre of Berlin. A thesis set about finding the most appropriate corridors in Berlin for water-based goods distribution. Investigation on expected demand and potential customers was conducted and, based on carefully weighted infrastructure, economic and transport related arguments, the Spree area in the heart of Berlin was selected.


The City of Utrecht has been a member of Energy Cities since 1998.
Discover all our members’ actions in our interactive poster gallery or our best practice database.



by Kinga Kovacs on 18 October 2011 / 564 visites




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