Source: adapted from Taylor, M.A.P. (2005) The City Logistics paradigm for urban freight transport. Proceedings of the 2nd State of Australian Cities Conference. Urban Research Program, Griffith University: Brisbane.
Four major stakeholders are shaping urban freight distribution: shippers, residents, freight forwarders, planners, and regulators. The strongest relation is between the shippers who provide goods and the residents who consume them, with freight forwarders acting on the shippers’ (beneficiary cargo owners) behalf. This is particularly important as shippers, and freight forwarders strive to fulfill consumers’ needs. Planners and regulators are trying to set rules under which urban freight distribution takes place with the multiple and, at times contradictory, aim of satisfying their constituents as well as commercial, transport, and distribution interests. Each stakeholder has its objectives, which can be difficult to assess for urban residents as they can form advocacy groups over an array of issues (congestion, quality of life, urban development projects, etc.). Under normal circumstances, the relations between the stakeholders tend to be neutral. However, when a challenge in city logistics emerges, the relationships between stakeholders are likely to change, which can lead to four possible outcomes:
- Conflicts. Due to the scarcity of space, the density, and the complexity of the urban landscape, conflicts between stakeholders are common. They arise when the externalities imposed by urban freight distribution on local communities for existing or proposed projects are judged to be no longer acceptable by residents, planners, and regulators. Sometimes conflicts arise between the residents and planners over specific issues triggering classic NIMBY (Not in my backyard) responses. Legal recourses are attempted to stop a development project (e.g. a new distribution center) or to more strictly regulate an activity (e.g. access to a commercial district or parking).
- Cooperation. Usually achieved when additional mitigation strategies are added to a project (change in design) or modes of operation. It is agreed through a consensus that the existing capacity will be used and shared more rationally. Public-private partnerships are examples where private goals and public interests can be mitigated.
- Competition. Shippers and freight forwarders bid to access urban real estate and facilities for their operations. Freight forwarders also compete to attract and retain customers for freight distribution services. Commercial and residential developers compete within the land use zoning framework for real estate projects.
- Coopetition. A specific form of collaboration between private stakeholders, particularly when a stakeholder cannot address an issue individually or is incited to do so by regulation. While they may compete over attracting and retaining customers, freight forwarders could be involved in shared operations. The consolidation of urban freight distribution activities is particularly prone to coopetition with shared facilities (e.g. urban distribution centers) or deliveries (shippers pooling their demand to negotiate better terms with a freight forwarder).