DHL has called for a consistent approach across key northern cities in their methods of managing freight deliveries.

Ian Cooper, director, transport value creation at DHL Supply Chain, stressed the importance of regional, rather than city-specific logistics rules to tackle the challenge of rising urban freight volumes.

Speaking at Freight in the City Spring Summit yesterday (3 March) in Manchester, Cooper told delegates that the impending empowerment of northern cities should be seen as a “celebration of the rise of the city” and one the logistics sector should embrace.

However, increasing consumer demand for online home deliveries, which is still only “at the thin end of the wedge in terms of what the ultimate impact on supply chains” will see operators making smaller, more frequent deliveries into already congested urban areas.

Individual cities with differing challenges may look towards mitigating measures such as low-emission zones, congestion charging, time and routing restrictions, for example.

Cooper warned that locally-adopted measures could aversely affect an operator’s ability to run efficiently, limiting the use of certain vehicles to smaller areas.

Instead he urged northern cities to work collaboratively and look towards adopting best-practice schemes already in operation, such as ECO Stars, Fors and Clocs rather than try and re-invent the wheel.

“We serve the North as a region and not individual cities. Why is this significant? We are able to do this efficiently because we gear our operations to the scale of the region as a whole. Scale and interoperability are absolutely key here,” he added.

“We request a collaborative approach to achieve consistency across cities, preserve interoperability and efficiency and allow us to play our part [in city growth].”