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Increased postal and parcel service in demand in sparsely populated areas

How can participant and data integration contribute to improved accessibility to parcel services, reduced transport costs, new delivery alternatives and a network of representatives that is more adapted to recipients outside of larger urban centres? This was the primary question during CLOSER's, the Swedish Parcel Representatives' and the National Representative Platform's seminar on 25 April.
Magnus Enzell, head of the Finance Department in the Swedish Government Offices

Magnus Enzell, head of the Finance Department in the Swedish Government Offices
The seminar was a follow-up of the inspiration day on sustainable postal and parcel services in sparsely populated areas held by the Swedish Parcel Representatives' and the National Representative Platform's together with the Swedish Trade Federation in January 2019. 

A diverse group of active key persons within various fields with direct connection to the problems of sparsely populated areas, service planning, infrastructure, entrepreneurship and innovative logistics solutions. With a packed agenda and full house, the purpose of the day was to inspire, but primarily to discuss opportunities and concretely define pilot projects for efficient parcel and delivery services in the countryside. Lina Wells, project manager at CLOSER and Lina Moritz, programme head at CLOSER, kicked off the day by describing earlier work within CLOSER relating to transport in the countryside, such as the workshop held a little more than a year ago (link to earlier event). It is a topic that many people are discussing, but we have not seen many workshops yet.

"Data and digitalisation are key elements to being able to create sustainable business models and there are new ways to collaborate for more efficient transport and a higher service level in the countryside. CLOSER has worked extensively with freight transport in cities and densely populated areas, but we have noticed an increased interest among our partners in matters relating to freight transport in the countryside and sparsely populated areas. There are several innovation projects and pilots under way that are managed within the scope of CLOSER and DenCity, where, among other things, concepts for efficient home deliveries are developed with the help of digitalisation in urban centres. These can be developed further and adapted for sparsely populated areas," says Lina Moritz. 

Olle Janrik and Alexander Zuniga, Sweden's Parcel Representatives, followed by presenting the National Representatives' Platform project's continued work. Postal and parcel recipients in the countryside and sparsely populated areas, including private persons and companies alike, are more than positively disposed to increased collaboration and distribution. The fact that players do not collaborate among themselves is perceived negatively, but changes may be on the way. 

"All players are now willing to take the next step. PostNord, Schenker, Bussgods, UPS and DHL all agree to join the discussion. We also have our municipalities on board and now we will find different areas and models to test," continues Olle Janrik.

 "The previous meeting, the inspiration day, inspired further interest and PTS' ambition is to hold its own workshop while we contribute collective workshop," explains Pär Lindberg, PTS.

Pär-Ove Bergqvist, coordinator at the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, addressed the efforts required to maintain basic commercial service in sparsely populated areas. Roland Elander from Sustainable Innovation talked about DenCity - innovative solutions for, among other things, sustainable transport in cities and how this can be scaled up and adapted for implementation in more sparsely populated areas. Andreas Thieme, CLOSER, recounted SESAM and the development relating to digital locks for more efficient deliveries. Magnus Enzell, department head at the Ministry of Infrastructure, explained the importance of collecting data in order to create new services. Several municipalities also participated with presentations and videos, including the municipality of Ljusdal with business developer Suzanne Bäckman, who discussed a local solution for collaborative distribution of parcel packages which produced really good results. 

The general consensus at the end of the day, which also included ample time for discussion and workshops, is that increased postal and parcel service is among the biggest demands in our sparsely populated areas in order for them to survive. 

CLOSER is now working on the issue together with interested parties in order to facilitate and launch concrete pilot projects for efficient parcel deliveries and transport in sparsely populated areas. 

Presentations from the event (only in Swedish)

Övergripande presentation av dagen

CLOSER

Förstudieprojekt Nationell Ombudsplattform

Post- och telestyrelsen

Tillväxtverket

DenCity

Sesam II

Arjeplog kommun

Pajala kommun

Älvdalens kommun & Region Dalarna

Ljusdals kommun