Cityporto: Urban distribution service for the city of Padova


Padua (Metropolitan City of Bologna, Italy)

Challenge area:

Sustainable City Logistics

Implementation period:


The Challenge

Urban city logistics is a pivotal facet of maintaining the daily functioning of a city and ensuring the well-being of its residents. This indispensable activity, however, is not without its challenges, as it often gives rise to negative externalities that include traffic congestion, noise pollution, and compromised air quality. These issues are further exacerbated by the substantial influx of commercial vehicles converging in the city centre. The Italian city of Padova was not an exception, with more than 100 trucks entering the city centre every day.

Various cities have, in the past, grappled with these challenges by introducing innovative solutions. While some of these initiatives demonstrated positive outcomes during their initial piloting and testing phases, the broader implementation and sustainability of these solutions have proven to be formidable hurdles. One recurrent obstacle has been the absence of viable business models, rendering it challenging to scale and adopt these innovative approaches on a larger scale. Unfortunately, many of these solutions falter and cease operations once the initial public funding support ends.

To address these pressing urban challenges, the city of Padova in Italy has taken a proactive stance by implementing a groundbreaking urban delivery service known as Cityporto Padova, which embodies an innovative approach to urban distribution, addressing both immediate city challenges and contributing to broader regional/global logistics efficiency

The Solution

Cityporto, a service dedicated to freight transport operators, designed and managed by Interporto Padova, aims to optimise the delivery flows of goods and enhancing the overall quality of urban life, minimising the number of trips by increasing the loading rates of vehicles and using low emission vehicles. The functions associated with this service encompass urban freight transportation, cross-docking, warehousing, and the management of rejected freight or non-delivery scenarios.

The service follows the Urban Consolidation Centre approach. Therefore, third-party freight operators, as well as own-account transport operators, deliver their goods to the dedicated logistics platform of Interporto Padova, in Corso Stati Uniti, just 2 miles outside the city centre. From this platform, twice a day during the working days, environmentally friendly CNG-fuelled and electric vehicles leave for distribution in the city centre. The vehicles used for the service enjoy two advantages sanctioned by the city of Padova: use of dedicated bus lanes and free access and parking within the limited traffic zone (ZTL). The service is supported by an information system that allows to prepare and track the commands to be delivered, using a barcode system and EDI tools.

Freight operators can voluntarily join the service, with a tariff based on the quantity of goods to be delivered. In 2015 the service was extended to perishable goods, delivering to 5 supermarkets.