Analysis and strategies for urban freight logistics in a low emission zone

Sandra Milena Alvarez Gallo, Jacobo Hernan Echavarria Cuervo, Julien Maheut


Purpose: This paper aims to identify complementary strategies for urban freight logistics in a low emission zone (LEZ) that can be implemented in downtown Medellin, Colombia. The strategies will be executed by identifying the characteristics and problems of the business establishments in the area and the entrepreneurs’ opinions.

Design/Methodology/Approach: First, a literature review is performed in order to identify global and complementary strategies for the future LEZ, which is the study subject. Then, a “pilot” zone (a main corridor) of downtown Medellín is selected and the business establishment of the area are identified in order to spot problems and evaluate possible strategies for the future LEZ. This identification and evaluation phase is conducted through an interview with logistics managers in 105 establishments selected in the corridor for analysis.

Findings: One of the outstanding findings concerns the specificity of the logistics and mobility problems in downtown Medellin, which is located in Colombia, a developing country. The main problems are traffic congestion, lack of regulation and control in loading and unloading areas, as well as inadequate infrastructure for these operations. These obstacles have a significant impact on business activities and air quality in the area. The proposed solutions to complement the LEZ strategy for freight transport focus on improving regulation, establishing specific loading and unloading areas, exploring sustainable transportation options such as the cargo bike, and supporting small and medium-sized businesses. This emphasizes the complexity of the situation and the need for a comprehensive approach to address these logistical and environmental challenges.

Originality/Value: This study focuses on the analysis of urban freight logistics strategies that complement the traffic flow restriction policies imposed by low-emission zones. Unlike other studies that address these two issues independently, this paper specifically examines how to improve a LEZ as a comprehensive strategy to reduce the environmental impact of freight transport. In addition, it is noted that most publications tend to focus on passenger mobility strategies, which highlights the potential for research in the freight logistics field.


Low emission zone, urban freight logistics, LEZ, logistics strategies, public policies, sustainable logistics

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Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2024

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience