Intermodal Logistics Chains in Cities

How standardized containers can optimize the "last mile"
Eike Gernant
Febr. 2021 | White Paper | Englisch

Intermodal Logistics Chains in Cities

How standardized containers can optimize the "last mile"

Commercial transport today accounts for 25 to 30% of urban traffic. An alternative to current urban logistics systems can be a combination of light to medium-duty commercial vehicles, streetcars and electric cargo bikes. In this white paper, Porsche Consulting analyzes the potential of these three modes of transport together with a standardized container as a transport medium for providing sustainable, cost-saving and comprehensive transport solutions. 

Porsche Consulting has written this publication as part of a consulting project together with the participating partner companies InnoEnergy, ONOMOTION, EurA, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, the Hörmann Group and Hermes.

3.65 billion 

packages were delivered by courier, express, and parcel services in Germany in 2019.


of the world's population will be living in urban areas by the year 2050.


of inner district deliveries can be handled by an intermodal logistics chain.

Management Summary
  • Inner-district logistics have to be reexamined. Higher freight levels require intermodal and sustainable routes and solutions. A completely new approach is needed
  • Container transport is a revolutionary approach to worldwide trade from the 1950s. Adapting this method to urban contexts would shorten loading and unloading times and enable more flexible forms of last-mile delivery
  • Optimal use of existing urban (rail) infrastructure is of crucial importance. Moving transport from road to rail is the first step toward an intermodal transformation in values and systems for the final mile
  • Alternative approaches to mobility such as cargo trams and electric cargo bikes lower carbon, nitrogen oxide and noise emissions and reduce traffic for the last mile

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