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 own 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 emerge, the relationships between stakeholders is likely to change, which can lead to four possible outcomes:
- Conflicts. Due to the scarcely 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 to modes of operation. It is agreed through a consensus that the existing capacity is to 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 over their freight distribution services. Commercial and residential developers are also competing within the land use zoning framework for real estate projects.
- Coopetition. A specific form of collaboration between private stakeholders, particularly when a stakeholder is unable to individually address an issue 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. Consolidation of urban freight distribution activities are particularly prone to coopetition which shared facilities (e.g. urban distribution centers) or deliveries (shippers pooling their demand to negotiate better terms with a freight forwarder).