Rural Parcel Delivery

In the project “Rural Parcel Delivery”, VIL wanted to improve efficiency in the delivery of parcels in rural areas. A model of collaboration in geographic clusters with shared cross-docking capacity has been studied and tested to arrive at the most optimal economic and social situation.

status: Closed | theme: Last mile | type: Regional

Studies and projects with an emphasis on optimization of last-mile distributions are mainly limited to cities. On average, rural-based residents buy more parcels on the internet and the delivery of these parcels do not run very efficient.

Shops are located along regional roads or in the center of the village. The economic and social costs are high, because of the long distance and time between deliveries. At the same time, traffic jams don’t stop at the edge of large cities. Regional roads and village centers are also getting stuck. The typical Flemish spatial planning with ribbon development and dispersed habitation reinforces this problem.



  • VIL worked out a solution on an economic, ecological and social level. The designed model calculates the total costs, CO2 emissions, transport distance and total number of transport movements in different scenarios of horizontal cooperation between the parties involved.
  • Cooperation for last mile deliveries in rural areas pays off.
  • On average, CO2 emissions and number of transport movements decrease by 60 %. Costs are reduced by an average of 35%.
  • Moreover, it turned out that small parties can not only achieve profits through cooperation but also commercially improve their clout.
  • Despite the many advantages, a few factors can get in the way of applying the Rural Parcel Delivery model. These include the blurring of brand image, the decline of competitive advantage for large-volume parties, and the neutrality of a joint subcontractor in the event of consolidation.
  • VIL can guide interested companies in researching and setting up their own collaboration case.

Practical details

Start: March 2020
Total leading time: 24 months

Participating companies

6 companies: BD myShopi, DHL Express, FedEX Express Europe, GLS, Ondernemingscentra West-Vlaanderen and PostNL. 

Would you like to know more?

Contact Geert Verbelen (

VIL stands for a strong logistical Flanders

About VIL

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