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Mobility Measure

Last-mile delivery of goods

A Sustainable Urban Logistics Plan (SULP) shall be developed for Valletta.

Implementing sustainable mobility

In the recent years, Malta's capital city Valletta has seen a dramatic rise in the number of catering establishments and boutique hotels. This has created an increased demand for the delivery of goods within a city where the situation is already challenging for freight transport.

Coupled with this is the fact that Valletta is the administrative centre of the island. Hosting many major offices, it is a crucial employment node.

In order to improve the quality of life of both residents and visitors, the last-mile delivery of goods using electric vehicles will be piloted in Malta for the first time.

The data collected and the results from this pilot project will be used to develop a SULP, which aims to propose new and innovative ways to make freight transport more sustainable.

The SULP will then be integrated into the SUMP for the Valletta region, which is also being developed as part of the DESTINATIONS Project.

Objectives

  1. The following are the objectives which the last mile delivery of goods aims to achieve:
  2. Reduce the congestion caused by freight transport in the Valletta Region;
  3. Reduce the impact on air quality caused by heavy goods vehicles within the Valletta Region;
  4. Test the feasibility of the last mile delivery of goods within the local context;
  5. Compile a SULP for the Valletta Region;
  6. Further promote electric vehicles; and,
  7. Reduce traffic congestion and journey delays especially during the peak hours.

How will this be achieved?

The measure will be implemented in two parts, both being developed in parallel. The first consists of data collection for and the development of a SULP, while the second includes the design and implementation of the pilot for the last-mile delivery of goods.

The stakeholder consultation organised as part of SULP development was also used to create the last-mile delivery pilot, with relevant stakeholders giving their input at the design stage.

The pilot shall operate an electric goods van which will be shared by six artisan companies who manufacture hand crafted souvenirs. The companies are located on a single industrial estate, five kilometers outside of Valletta.  The six companies currently make use of thieir own vehicles to deliver goods to tourist centres (Valletta, Sliema, St Julians etc) where souvenir shops are located. 

As part of the pilot, the participating companies shall share a single van to conduct the same deliveries which previously utilised six separate vans. Primarily, the pilot shall reduce the number of trips (congestion) conducted and the number of vehicles (emissions) on the road. The pilot shall also test the concept of shared goods transportation, with the aim to share the results with the business community at a later stage for further uptake.

Finally, the pilot shall also demonstrate the feasibility of electromobility for the purpose of goods delivery which - coupled with grants made available by government - has the potential to seriously help reduce emissions on Maltese roads.

An essential part of the pilot will be data collection. This will be done before the launch of the pilot, during the pilot with users of the service, and following the completion of the pilot. This data will be fed into the SULP and used for future, long-term logistics delivery systems in Valletta.

How did the measure progress?

Desktop research and fieldwork including traffic counts were conducted as part of the SULP baseline data report finalised in 2017. This report presented the current scenario and identified the most challenging aspects which need to be addressed imminently. 

As part of the SUMP stakeholder consultation event held in October 2017, a workshop was devoted specifically to logistics. This was the first time that a small group of interested stakeholders met together and discussed the subject of logistics for the city of Valletta.

The workshop was led by an expert in the field of freight and logistics. The discussion points from this workshop were used for a more specific half-day workshop with the stakeholders that were identified during the mapping exercise. During the workshop in February 2018, the plan for the pilot which was being discussed internally and with major stakeholders such as the General Retailers and Traders Union was presented.

The workshop was then devoted to receiving feedback from the stakeholders present. They included shop owners, Valletta business associations, courier companies, unions and logistics companies. Following this, the pilot was redesigned to further reflect user needs.

The van is expected to be delivered in September 2019, with the pilot commencing soon after.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

The aim of this pilot project is to be simple but successful. Only such an outcome will gain the required trust from stakeholders that such systems work. Should the pilot be complicated, the risk of failure is greater and the impacts can be long-lasting - stakeholders could become sceptical of such a system's long-term viability.

The results and data collected from this project will help develop a self-sustaining logistics delivery system, which will reduce congestion both from within the capital city and from the immediate approach roads.

The positive impacts will be greatly felt, considering that delivery times tend to coincide with the rush-hour traffic as thousands commute to Valletta for work and shopping. The reduced congestion will translate into fewer emissions and therefore a better quality of life for the residents of Valletta and the region.