Accommodating consumer demand for home delivery – New York Daily News

In select locations throughout the nation, residents are concerned over the truck traffic caused by e-commerce and home delivery, and by the proliferation of the new, last-mile logistics centers necessary to facilitate this. According to the team at Dov Hertz Property Holdings, LLC, the solution to this problem is simple: consumers can simply stop ordering online. There would be no demand and therefore no new trucks and no need for additional last-mile logistics facilities.

However, it is quite clear consumers are not going to stop ordering online. In fact, the rate at which we are shopping online is increasing dramatically. More than 268 million people in the U.S., almost 80 percent of the nation, shopped online in 2022. Globally, e-commerce shoppers are expected to reach 3.6 billion by 2029, with user penetration increasing from approximately 40.5% in 2024 to 49.1% by 2029.

This is a powerful cultural shift that is spreading across different platforms. The social-media-driven e-commerce market is forecast to increase from $570 billion in 2023 to $997 billion by 2027. You may have noticed that social media influencers are now promoting the sale of the products in their posts through a simple click-through option. Online grocery platforms are also expanding rapidly. At the same time, brick-and-mortar shopping has been complicated in many larger cities by pervasive retail theft, especially in drug stores, which can make in-store shopping slow and frustrating.

To accommodate consumer demand for home delivery, and the wish for shorter delivery windows, Hertz says distribution centers must be located close to consumers. Large,18-wheel trucks deliver the goods in bulk to last-mile hubs, where smaller trucks collect and deliver individual orders to consumers’ homes.

This all requires trucks, but there are solutions that can reduce the impact of traffic from the larger trucks, Hertz says. For example, deliveries from 18 wheelers could be restricted to an overnight window, cutting congestion and eliminating the pollution created from these trucks idling in traffic. In New York City, we could create a marine highway. Large delivery trucks could be steered to centers in industrial areas on the shorelines of Staten Island and New Jersey, where containers could be transferred to barges for delivery into different areas in the city.

It is not possible to eliminate smaller vans, which are required for delivery to the front door. However, electric vans, as researched by Hertz’s company, DH Property Holdings LLC, can reduce the carbon impact. And, even with gas-powered vans, it seems there are sustainability gains to having a limited number of trucks making deliveries to homes versus hundreds of individual vehicles driving to various shopping centers.

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One study showed that using a grocery delivery service can cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least half when compared with individual household trips to the store. Trucks filled to capacity that deliver to customers clustered in neighborhoods produced the most savings in carbon dioxide emissions.

Hertz says the reason home delivery is so popular is that it is a huge benefit to vulnerable consumer populations, including older consumers; those with mobility issues, and busy young families, who rely on home delivery to simplify their day-to-day lives. Minority communities that are sometimes located in food deserts with very few grocery stores also benefit greatly from online shopping.

Logistics facilities represent a much-needed new tax base after 50 years of decline in our nation’s manufacturing industry. This tax revenue supports schools and other needs at a time when property tax bills are an increasing burden. What is more, newly developed logistics centers are frequently located on environmentally contaminated sites that were remediated by the logistics developer.

It is important to note that many cities and towns have mitigated truck traffic by working with logistics companies to identify and mandate low-impact delivery routes around communities. In fact, local elected officials and agencies almost always work with developers to address traffic concerns before anything is planned or built.

Hertz says managing the growth of e-commerce is critical to our neighborhoods, but some recent legislation and regulation completely ignores the complexity of the situation, opting for a quick fix that could produce negative consequences for those it purports to help.

A recent regulation in New York City, for example, effectively prevents the construction of new logistic facilities within the city’s borders by requiring a special permit for new construction. This regulation will only change the location from which vans begin their deliveries, causing thousands and thousands of additional small truck deliveries into the city from logistics centers that will be built in New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester. Traffic could increase significantly as a larger number of small trucks traverse longer distances, forced to negotiate the tunnels and bridges, traveling through additional neighborhoods and more highways during peak use on their way to their final destination.

“To be clear, bans on new logistic facilities will not in any way slow the momentum toward more home delivery, nor will it diminish truck traffic,” Hertz says.  “It will simply shift the locations and sizes of the trucks on the road and increase pollution. And it will slow deliveries to consumers and increase costs as retailers and distributors must dedicate three or four times as much time for warehouse-to-door deliveries. At DH Property Holdings LLC, we anticipate that when congestion pricing in Manhattan goes into effect, many of the costs will be passed on to consumers. On the other hand, if congestion pricing is not implemented, there will be even more congestion.”

Hertz says the issue we face with home delivery is caused by consumer demand. “Sadly, legislators, who should be responsible, are not thinking through the consequences of their actions. They are seeking a quick fix and further complicating the issue with a solution that will harm the city they want to protect.”

The news and editorial staffs of the New York Daily News had no role in this post’s preparation.

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