Freight movement is intrinsically linked to cities’ economic development. Managing freight flows effectively is essential to the supply of basic goods and services and economic prosperity, as well as reducing its negative environmental and social impacts. More importantly, effective freight management improves quality of life for local communities.
In Colombia, freight transport is managed by the Ministry of Transportation but the greatest impact and externalities from freight transport are seen at the local level. The complex dynamics of freight transport also demand integrated analysis from various actors and levels of government, since freight movements are not contained within the administrative limits of municipalities.
ICLEI’s EcoLogistics project plays a critical role in bridging the knowledge gap and in leading efforts to raise the profile of freight transport in policy arenas. Through the EcoLogistics project, the Metropolitan Area of the Aburrá Valley (AMVA) launched a freight transport study. This study contributes to understanding the fabric of the freight transport system – and that understanding allows for planning that can reduce operational costs and travel times, optimize the use of road infrastructure, and reduce environmental impacts caused by freight vehicles.
The Director of the Metropolitan Area, Juan David Palacio, presented the study during the 4th Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) Conference on Urban Freight, held in March 2021. This year, ICLEI organized two plenary sessions at the conference: a launch event featuring the EcoLogistics Report 2021 with high-level speakers, and a roundtable discussion on improving last-mile deliveries.
“One of the main difficulties we have as a metropolitan area is the significant number of automobiles: about 1.750.000 vehicles. That affects the driving cycle and that also alters logistics and freight transport,” said Palacio. “We are working with different actors of the freight sector such as the Alianza Logística Regional Antioquia Líder (ALR) to design an exclusive lane for freight vehicles in the multimodal corridor of the Aburrá River, in order to enhance the efficiency and connectivity of regional freight transport.”
The purpose of the study is to explore the freight transport activity patterns and characteristics in the region. In particular, the origin and destination of the freight trips, the commodities transported, loading and unloading operations, current practices of urban logistics, identifying short-term and long-term improvement actions and goals.
Read the complete study (in Spanish) to learn more about how the Metropolitan Area of the Aburrá Valley is tackling urban freight.