The capital city of Germany, Berlin, is home to 3.5 million inhabitants. Here, as in numerous other European cities, heavy traffic creates major problems.
In 2011, during the EU logistics project CITYLOG, Berlin tested the Bentobox concept.
BentoBoxes are out-of-hours parcel drop-off points located in strategic public places such as shopping malls, railway stations or business areas. They are composed of a fixed docking station with a touchscreen user-interface and up to 6 removable trolleys. Each trolley can accommodate compartments of different sizes depending on the the parcels' dimensions they need to hold.
Trolleys containing goods are delivered overnight by transporters to the docking stations where customers can pick them up. Alternatively, shipments can also be picked up by green vehicles such as cargo bikes for "last mile" deliveries.
A test period showed that 85% of conventional light commercial vehicle routes in the test area could be replaced by cargo bikes, reducing noise, greenhouse gas and particle emissions while providing flexibility for recipients.
The Bentobox was also used successfully in Lyon (France) and Piemonte (Italy).