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Demonstration F: Colruyt and Delhaize in Brussels - Night-time deliveries
Many traffic service providers rank Brussels as the most congested European city. Drivers in Brussels face average delays of over 33% during peak traffic hours. These delays do not only affect the everyday commuter, but also the inner-city freight deliverer. The potential time gains have increased the interest among carriers and the bigger retail chains to shift some of the deliveries to the off-peak hours. That is also the case for Colruyt and Delhaize, the two biggest Belgian food retailers. Together, they operate 39 big supermarkets in the Brussels-Capital Region. Based on their experiences with off-peak deliveries in other Belgian cities, both retailers are keen to start delivering to these shops during the night. Most Colruyt and Delhaize shops in Brussels currently have an environmental permit allowing them to load and unload between 7am and either 7pm, 8pm, 9pm or 10pm.
Both Colruyt and Delhaize believe night deliveries would be a good way to spread their DC operations and the goods reception at the shops. They also believe it would gain them time and fuel by avoiding traffic congestion during peak hours. The idea could be beneficial for society as well. Earlier tests with night deliveries suggest that delivering to shops outside the morning and evening peak hours has multiple advantages:
Because they believe night deliveries could be a win-win solution, and in view of possible road pricing schemes in the future, Colruyt and Delhaize would like to investigate possibilities for night-time deliveries. However, there are some stumbling blocks resulting from the fact that loading and unloading operations produce noise which can be irritating for people living close, especially at night. Therefore, it can be expected that some local citizens will not be in favour of night-time deliveries. Also the public authorities and the Brussels public service for environment and energy, in particular, would like to see evidence of the effects of this shift in operations.
The Colruyt and Delhaize demonstration has multiple goals:
The demonstration took place at five demonstration sites (2 of Colruyt, 3 of Delhaize). Noise levels were measured at each site during a complete delivery routine, in line with the requirements of the Brussels public service for the environment and energy. The delivery routine was carried out between 8pm and 10pm using 'silent' trucks and equipment. Based on the results, the public service granted temporary permits to do a real night-time demonstration over a period of two weeks. During that period, the five demonstration sites received deliveries during the night, early mornings or late evenings on a regular basis. Noise measurements were made for a period of four consecutive days.
Expected outcomes of the demonstrations are: