Ghent cleans up the goods supply in its central area, Source: City of Ghent

Free bike or free money: Ghent helps local suppliers to decarbonize deliveries

Free bike or free money: Ghent helps local suppliers to decarbonize deliveries

This Belgian city aims to have its centre as free of emissions as possible by 2030

As of 1 July, companies that make product deliveries to the Ghent central area can register to participate in one of two pilot projects: getting a free electric vehicle or receiving a financial subsidy to pay for a local emission-free last-mile delivery service. Both of these perks are provided by the municipality.

Ghent’s climate ambition is probably the most realistically stated one that we have heard in a while. This Belgian city aims to have its central area as free of emissions as possible by 2030. This may not sound as daring compared to other cities using terms like ‘emission-free’ or ‘banning all fossil fuel cars’, but it does sound like something that can be delivered.

Not just empty words

By 2030, we want city logistics to be as emission-free as possible, but entrepreneurs are not alone. We give them time to prepare, and we offer support. In this way, we want to motivate them to take the step towards sustainable logistics,” explains Sofie Bracke, Alderman for Economy.

Around 7,000 tonnes of goods are brought into Ghent’s central area (inside the R40 ring road) each week via 40,000 trips of vans and trucks, not including construction logistics. 10,000 to 20,000 parcels are delivered to the city centre every day.

That has a massive impact in terms of traffic and emissions, and the city doesn’t want to wait until the last moment to implement changes. That’s why the work is starting now, in phases, in order to give entrepreneurs a chance to adapt.

Two options for entrepreneurs

For the first pilot project, companies, sole proprietorships or non-profit organisations can test an emission-free vehicle for deliveries in Ghent for a week free of charge. They will receive advice and customised logistics services.

There is a choice of an electric truck, box truck, refrigerated truck or van, a light electric freight vehicle or a cargo e-bike. Testing is possible in the period from 23 September to 13 December 2024.

Then, there’s the option of outsourcing the so-called ‘last-mile delivery”. These are logistics companies that bundle deliveries and transport goods from the edge of the city to the city centre. Anyone who enters into a collaboration with one of these providers will receive a subsidy of 6,000 euros.



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