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The future of last mile delivery according to the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released a report on the future of last mile delivery and its impacts on urban areas. It indicates that the number of last mile deliveries should increase by 78% by 2030, putting even more pressure on congestion while generating increased emissions.

The beast will continue to grow... That is if we don't change anything.


The report analyses 3 scenarios of interventions to minimize the potential negative impacts of last mile deliveries and resulting changes on emissions, congestion and costs.

  1. Sustainability scenario: increased government enforcement and regulations to better organize last mile activities.

  2. Economic scenario: optimization of logistics providers through technological or structural changes.

  3. Multiplayer ecosystem scenario: this is a mixed scenario where all public and private stakeholders must contribute and change behaviors.


These scenarios group specific interventions that could be undertaken to limit the impacts of the increase in last mile deliveries. These interventions are grouped into the following categories:

  • Vehicle change: increased use of Electric or Hydrogen vehicles, introduction of drones.

  • Secure delivery: secure boxes and delivery systems.

  • Customer movement: modify habits with parcel lockers, shops or office delivery.

  • Consolidation: urban consolidation centers, load pooling.

  • Last-leg change: micro-hubs, change parking infrastructure, droids on pavement.

  • Delivery environment: double-parking enforcement, express lanes, night-time delivery.

Benefits The first scenario benefits mainly cities and increases pressure on logistics providers. The second scenario makes the lives easier for logistics providers but less benefits for cities. The third scenario is more balanced and tries to combine the better solutions to benefit all stakeholders.


So clearly there is a lot of work to be done and many stakeholders need to be involved to find the appropriate solutions for each city or jurisdiction. At the same time, the scope of the report focuses on maintaining status quo with regards to the stakeholders that are involved today in the last mile environment.

Thinking out of the box, there are certainly new players that will emerge and disrupt this status quo that could improve the situation even more.

To read the entire analysis, consult the WEF report:

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