Anastasios Koutoulas

Off-peak hour logistics

Haulage constitutes a large part of the daytime traffic in cities. The efficiency is low due to congestion. An internationally tested improvement is cargo delivery at off-peak hours: evening, night and morning. Transports become more efficient and provide profitability due to less traffic.

This Off-peak hour deliveries (OPHD) have become one of the most challenging concepts in promoting sustainable urban logistics. Many cities implemented night time deliveries concepts and pilot cases within the last decade. In 2014, the City of Stockholm initialized a night-time freight deliveries program aiming at a more efficient, sustainable and environmental-friendly delivery system within the urban area of the city. This research project aims to: 1) create new knowledge by studying the effects and results of ongoing trials and tests of new solutions, 2) map Off-peak activities in Sweden / EU, 3) propose regulatory principles, disseminate knowledge and promote a greater spread.

The policy of shifting freight deliveries from daytime to off-peak hours generates a wide range of different effects that could be analysed from several angles. Social benefits and costs of delivery regulations – in this case study allowing night-time deliveries – could be one of these aspects. Social benefits mainly consist of increased efficiency and higher productivity both for carriers and receivers, reduced transport costs and fuel cost savings, and reduced congestion and accidents when trucks are moved from rush hours to off-peak hours. On the other hand, social costs may include increased noise levels and noise disturbances, additional staff, equipment and wage costs as well as higher risks in handling goods deliveries at night times, especially in the case of unassisted deliveries.

But how are these costs and benefits distributed between stakeholders and which of them affect their operations? Which are the most crucial and which is the interaction among industry and business, governmental authorities and citizens or communities?
These are some of the main issues addressed in this research. Based on information and data collected through in-depth interviews with private and public stakeholders, the paper sets the scene for the policy implementation framework of Off-peak hour deliveries (OPHD) in the Stockholm inner city, summarizing also the effects on everyday life and operations of all interested parties through a social cost-benefit analysis.

Finally, it discusses what lessons can be learnt from the trial and the implications for melioration of OPHD in urban areas in general.


University: KTH Royal Institute of Technology