The distribution of cities includes logistics and the transport of goods intended to supply enterprises, institutions and other consumers in urban areas. This applies to the transport business and all deliveries to and from cities, such as deliveries to supermarkets, retail stores, enterprises, offices, institutions, construction sites, waste, HORECA institutions, hospitals, etc. as well as the movement of goods produced by companies.
Like many regions and cities of Europe, the metropolitan region faces difficulties in organizing the transportation of goods and has to deal with a large selection of types of transportation. Although cargo transportation makes up only a relatively small part of the total volume of transportation (trucks account for 6% of the entries and exits of vehicles in the capital region, calculated in June), it is generated when it is associated with other forms of movement in urban areas, accessibility problems, vitality and city security.
Indeed, from the very beginning of its existence, transit transportation was biased to involve public and private entities in the search for solutions that should be implemented to improve urban distribution. In this context, interviews were first organized with representatives of integrating companies (DHL and TNT), city distributors, construction materials transport, large distributors, waste transport and industry.
These interviews made it possible to better understand transport behavior and understand what problems need to be addressed. They did not seek an exhaustive analysis of the needs of transit transportation services, but led joint workshops. In 2011, four joint workshops were organized as part of the mobility commission. On this occasion, invitations were sent to a large group of interested participants from the public and private sectors. On average, there were about forty participants representing various sectors (shippers, traders, logistics service providers, government agencies, employers’ organizations and trade unions, organizations for the protection of residents, the environment, and universities). Based on the testimonies of participants in the distribution chain, the opinions of participants were asked in writing for proposals and then discussed. The first three workshops were about bundling goods flows, bundling infrastructure, and “delivering the last mile”. The last workshop deepened the results of the first three workshops, asking participants to prioritize proposals.
Stakeholders unanimously recognized the usefulness of having a plan on this important issue, and in general they provided broad support for the draft Regional Plan. Everyone emphasized that they appreciated the partnership and constructive consultations undertaken to develop the plan, and that they would like it to continue structurally. Requests for specific consultations were reviewed and the corresponding files were changed. The request for increased consultation with two other regions was also taken into account, as well as coordination with strategic or canal planning. Other emphases were developed in the plan, such as impact assessment or the development of bicycle use in logistics.
The position of the capital region as the capital of Belgium and Europe, at the core of relatively large consumer markets, is an important force that attracts large flows of goods. In addition, the Brussels-Capital Region is well served by a network of roads, railways and waterways that connects it with other key regions in north-west Europe. The port of Brussels, which is a catalyst for the processing of incoming and outgoing flows of containers and bulk cargo, is the main center of this network. This is especially true, for example, in relation to the transportation of building materials by inland waterways to supply concrete plants and wholesalers who have established in the port area from where they serve construction sites in the Brussels-Capital Region.
Proximity to the airport is another advantage for the transport business and for the quick delivery of express delivery from the region. The involvement of the Brussels metropolitan region as (an interethnic center for political decision-making has prompted other decision centers to settle there. All this, as well as the large concentration of a diverse population, make the Brussels metropolitan region an interesting market for various types of traders. Distributed across 19 municipalities of the Brussels metropolitan region, it also appeared many shops uniting traders and merchants.