RIPPL #48: KoMoDo cooperative micro depot opens in Berlin

A new depot for last-mile deliveries has begun operating in central Berlin, where around 800,000 people live within a 5km radius. The pilot project, dubbed ‘KoMoDo’, involves several different logistics operators working under one roof. Each logistics operator has access to a 14m² transshipment container within the facility and overall management is by BEHALA – a neutral provider. Packages are delivered to the hub by conventional trucks, then distributed by bike in busy city centre streets.

The KoMoDo initiative (full name “Kooperative Nutzung von Mikro-Depots durch die Kurier-, Express-, Paket-Branche für den nachhaltigen Einsatz von Lasträdern in Berlin” – so you can see why they use the acronym) was announced when the International Cargo Bike Festival and ECLF Symposium were held in April in Berlin. The opening of the site in Prenzlauer Berg area of the city was held at the end of May.

This articluated Velove Armadillo will be used by Hermes at KoMoDo.
Photo credit: Velove

One of the unique things about the project is that several large, multinational delivery companies are involved. These include five of Germany’s biggest operators: DHL, UPS, GLS, Hermes and DPD. Some of these companies are no strangers to experimenting individually with cycle logistics – UPS with their own city micro-hubs and DHL with their Boat-Bike supply chain are just two examples – but rarely before has this experimentation occurred in cooperation.

It could be argued that for this kind of cooperation to get off the ground, at least in the pioneering stages, government intervention is a requirement. Cities are increasingly active in forcing through whatever change is necessary in order to improve conditions for their citizens; citizens who are increasingly aware and vocal on environmental and social issues affecting cities. In taking these actions, forward-thinking cities often act as a counterweight to the actions of their national governments. In the case of KoMoDo however, support came not only from the Berlin Senate, but also from the federal level. €400k in funding was from the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety within the framework of the National Climate Initiative.

The next steps for KoMoDo? Consultancy Beratungsunternehmens Logistic Network will coordinate the project, analyse the numbers (kms ridden, parcels delivered and in what time etc) and report the results of the pilot. If the model of cooperative use of micro-depots proves successful, the plan is to roll out the idea to other large cities across the country.

Berliner Zeitung: “Pilotprojekt in Berlin. Paketdienste sollen künftig Sendungen per Lastenfahrrad liefern” (German) “Vorhang auf für Cargobike-Projekt KoMoDo in Berlin” (German)
Der Tagesspiegel: In Pankow werden Lastenräder getestet (German) “Letzte Meile: innovatives Logistik-Pilotprojekt in Berlin gestartet” (German)
Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und nukleare Sicherheit: “Bundesumweltministerin Schulze eröffnet Berliner Modellprojekt für umweltfreundlichen Lieferverkehr” (German) “Modellprojekt in Berlin startet: Lieferverkehr mit Lastenrädern nachhaltig gestalten” (German)
Velove: “Containerisation makes city logistics smart”

Main photo credit: Sina Schuldt/DPA