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Transport companies skeptical: scouring idea for parcel delivery difficult to implement

2020-02-18T04:44:55.294Z

ZEIT ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates



Berlin (dpa) - After the push by Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer to transport parcels by subway in the future, some transport companies express doubts about the feasibility of the idea.

"There is no space," said a spokeswoman for the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG). There is neither a depot for storing the parcels outside the city, nor the possibility of creating sufficiently small delivery points - as suggested by Scheuer - in the city center. The CSU politician wants to relieve the delivery traffic in the city by the alternative transport route.

In view of the expected delivery volume, however, many more open questions followed, said the BVG spokeswoman. «Who picks up the parcels when? Who is guarding the deliveries? » Much of a parcel service by subway is difficult to imagine given the current conditions of underground transportation in the German capital. «We have been thinking about this for quite some time. The minister's idea is not new, »said the spokeswoman.

The BVG is nevertheless pleased with the Minister's openness to questions about growing delivery traffic, said the spokeswoman. You don't want to close the doors permanently.

The chief executive of the German Association of Cities, Helmut Dedy, finds Scheuer's proposal "exciting". "If the parcel logistics are shifted to the rail, road traffic can be relieved and the delivery can be made climate-friendly and electrical." With four billion parcels being forecast nationwide in 2020, new solutions are urgently needed to relieve traffic, Dedy said.

The Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt am Main (VGF) points out the pitfalls of underground delivery traffic. "Underground stations are less suitable as unloading and reloading points," said a VGF spokesman. Instead, delivery by tram may prove to be more practical. "The network is smaller, the stops as potential reloading points closer together and therefore closer to the customer." From corresponding unloading stations, the parcels could be distributed to cargo bikes, from which they would then be brought to the customer, said the VGF spokesman.

In Berlin, too, the Berlin public transport company believes that trams are more suitable than goods transport. There are already depots here that could be used to store packages. When unloading the freight, the trams could be parked on an extra track, so that the subsequent passenger traffic could easily overtake. This would avoid backlogs from the deliveries.

The booming online trade increasingly presents German cities with logistics problems. More and more packages also ensure more delivery traffic and, accordingly, fuller streets and traffic jams. Last year, consumers ordered goods and services worth 94 billion euros, around ten percent more than in the previous year, according to figures from the Federal Association of E-Commerce and Mail Order.

Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer is now launching a first practical test for his idea. The parcel trains should initially run after the end of operations. "I would be willing to do a pilot project with a city where we are converting an underground and converting it into a special package underground," the CSU politician recently told the newspapers of the Neue Berliner Redaktionsgesellschaft.

Source: zeit

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