Smart Logistics: Changing Delivery Downtown

  • February 22, 2016

As I performed my usual dodge-and-weave bike routine on my way to work one morning, narrowly avoiding trucks and cargo vans on Main Street, I couldn’t help but start daydreaming about the future of goods and service delivery in downtown Vancouver — one where stopping behind a truck doesn’t mean breathing in diesel exhaust; where ninety percent of products are delivered overnight; and where cargo bikes, e-scooters, drones, and shared vehicles comprise the majority of vehicles on the road.

In Vancouver’s scramble to improve people movement in the city – creating robust public transit networks, comprehensive bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and walkable neighborhoods – we sometimes forget about the importance of also creating efficient distribution systems for goods and services.

At the Vancouver Economic Commission, we often have the privilege of seeing businesses as the primary agents of change for creating more sustainable places to live and work. And over the past year in Vancouver, we’ve seen a number of local innovators blend technological advancement with clever business models to fundamentally change the way we distribute goods downtown.

This budding smart logistics cluster is now gaining local momentum and global interest, popularizing concepts such as access over ownership, software as a service and fleet conversion. Acting as both educators and entrepreneurs, these local innovators are pushing their clients to take vehicles off the road, reduce their distribution emissions to zero and eliminate excess packaging.

We can’t wait to share their stories and further tackle sustainable goods distribution at the upcoming GLOBE conference. If you’re passionate about building better systems for distributing goods and services in cities, come see us at GLOBE, where we are:

  • Running a Renewable Energy Challenge to help businesses overcome the transportation challenges preventing them from becoming 100% renewable
  • Displaying local alternative vehicles, such as the VeloMetro covered electric bike
  • Hosting Cleantech innovators such as SunPump, Neurio and Terramerain the Powerhaus Pavillion on the GLOBE trade show floor

Can’t wait to see you at GLOBE! In the meantime, here’s a teaser panel discussion on smart logistics that we recorded as part of the Disruptive Innovation Festival in November.


3cec242Pietra Basilij

Pietra is the Vancouver Economic Commission’s lead on sustainable community development. She works primarily with industrial businesses to spur the shift to a more circular economy, support the development of smarter logistics systems, and create a stronger business ecosystem for innovative, creative, and sustainable industrial operations.