Groningen City Signs Clean Transport Deal

The municipal government of Groningen yesterday signed a deal with the business community and Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG) for sustainable transport in the city centre.

The Convenant Duurzame Stadslogistiek (Covenant on Sustainable Urban Logistics), which includes signatures from the Groningen City Club, the Central Association for Ambulatory Trade (CVAH) and VNO-NCW Noord, among others, is designed to make the medieval city centre less congested and cleaner.

Groningen has grown in population size in recent years, from 174,000 in 2001 to an estimated 203,000 in 2018, and the city centre has regularly become overcrowded as a result. The deal, which is an elaboration on the Green Deal ZES (Zero Emission City Logistics), seeks to ensure all shops, catering establishments, offices and residential buildings are supplied only by non-CO2-emitting vehicles by 2025. It also seeks to reduce the overall number of vehicles by packing and transporting different goods together.

Paul Buijs, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Logistics at RUG, says that the university will facilitate the implementation of the scheme.

“The RUG will be involved in two ways,” he says. “The first is monitoring and evaluating the actions taken, and the second is to evaluate its own facility logistics. Specifically, this will involve student thesis research projects supervised by junior and senior researchers of the Operations department.”

Among the signatories to the agreement is MKB-Noord, an entrepreneurial network that supports business across the north of the Netherlands.

“This agreement is a very good thing,” said MKB-Noord chairman Gerard Kremer. ‘This city has a lot of bicycles and a lot of people, and we need to solve this problem, not just in Groningen but all over the world. It’s great that there are so many parties who have signed this because it is a very pressing issue.”

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