Alternative e-commerce delivery policies

A case study concerning the effects on carbon emissions
  • Sam Heshmati
  • Jannes Verstichel
  • Eline Esprit
  • Greet Vanden Berghe
Research Paper


Contemporary shopping habits are undergoing rapid change, with more and more consumers purchasing goods online. The rapid growth of the online retail sector provides great opportunities for both wholesalers and transporters in servicing this newly emergent type of customer. With both consumers and corporations acutely aware of the environmental impact of business activities, one of the most relevant research questions is how to organize the operations of a e-commerce delivery business while simultaneously minimizing its environmental impact. The present paper addresses the e-commerce delivery problem, a mathematical formulation and fast heuristics which enable the simulation of various e-commerce delivery scenarios. The effects of the scenarios regarding more environmentally friendly e-commerce concerns are tested upon real-world data. In particular, the impact of new green(er) technology (such as electric bicycles and cars), aggregated collection points, carrier bundling, and changing delivery times is investigated. The obtained results are suitable for implementation at an organizational or operational level within both e-commerce delivery companies and transporters.


E-commerce delivery problem Mixed-fleet vehicle routing Operational policies 



Work commissioned by VIL, the innovation platform for the logistics cluster in Flanders, supported by VLAIO (Egreen IWT 140002) and the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) in the Interuniversity Attraction Pole COMEX. Editorial consultation provided by Luke Connolly (KU Leuven).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature and EURO - The Association of European Operational Research Societies 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.KU Leuven, Department of Computer ScienceCODeS & imecGentBelgium
  2. 2.INESC TEC, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal

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