Cargo streetcar: how the use of standardized containers on the "last mile" works


The call for alternative transport options is increasingly becoming the focus of current debates. The combination of conventional as well as electrically powered delivery vehicles, streetcars and e-load bikes in the entire supply chain up to the "last mile" enables sensible alternatives for urban logistics.



After the "CityCargo" project was finally sealed in 2008 due to excessive costs and the global economic crisis, the "cargo streetcar" will experience a revival in 2021. In accordance with the wisdom of Albert Einstein: "Problems can never be solved in the same way of thinking that created them", a new concept was developed for this purpose, in which the use of existing infrastructures such as streetcar tracks, streetcar trains and emission-free e-load bikes are the basis for the renewed project. In addition to concepts for operational implementation, a strong partner network is also needed for successful piloting. In order to revive the promising approach of the Cargo Tram without the mistakes of the past, the companies InnoEnergy, ONOMOTION, Hörmann Group, EurA, Hermes, Porsche Consulting as well as Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences have re-evaluated and optimized the technical as well as the operational concept.



The aim is to illustrate the potential of such a logistics chain and to inspire interested cities or local transport companies to participate in a pilot project. Together, the participating companies combine a wide variety of competencies, distributed along the transport chain and at different levels of the value chain.


Significant adjustments have been made in the implementation of the entire supply chain. The project is to be implemented in an intermodal, three-stage approach:


  1. The delivery of goods from the depot to the outskirts of the city is to be carried out with existing truck fleets. On the outskirts of the city, a streetcar stop is to act as a loading point for the cargo streetcar. Due to comparable freight capacities, reloading can take place with little land use.
  2. The transport of goods from the outskirts of the city to the districts and the center is then to be carried out directly by cargo streetcar. The tram will make stops at suitable destinations, where the containers will be unloaded. Pre-commissioning will ensure rapid unloading and will not interfere with regular passenger traffic. In particular, the loading and unloading process is to be made much more effective and simpler. In the project in Amsterdam at the time, the goods were transported in the form of general cargo directly onto an e-truck. This resulted in a long downtime and significantly limited flexibility. In the new concept, the standardized container, which can be used throughout the entire transport chain, offers a simplification. In addition, the use of modern track & trace communication systems enables fast pickup. At the inner-city stops, only small buffer areas would thus be necessary, each the size of a few containers per stop. This means that the containers would not have to be picked up "just-in-time" but could be temporarily stored. This optimizes the operating processes of the streetcars and e-load bikes.
  3. Delivery will then be made to the end customers in containers via e-bikes. In this way, the planned logistics chain makes the best possible use of the existing infrastructure and low-emission modes of transport. Furthermore, delivery in inner-city areas will be accelerated through the use of e-load bikes. The advantages: they are not only tied to the road and thus avoid congestion situations. This ensures an improvement of parking facilities in the main streets and in the adjacent residential and industrial areas.


Download the white paper here:

Also interesting:

Webinar "Intermodal logistics chain in urban areas"

Tuesday, March 2, from 2 to 3 p.m.

Friday, March 12, from 10 to 11 a.m.

In terms of relieving the burden on the infrastructure, rail is more in demand than ever. In the near future, a concept such as the cargo streetcar can also be adapted for commuter trains and subways as well as regional and national rail traffic by using containers. Theoretically, it would also be conceivable to connect logistics hubs such as airports or freight distribution centers directly by rail.  Cities and municipalities must act now to benefit from this viable solution for "green logistics" in the medium term and avert traffic collapse.  A pilot project to demonstrate the feasibility, testing and plausibility of the economic viability is the next logical step on the way to a traffic-optimized and more sustainable future.

Download the white paper here:

Contents of the white paper are:

  1. Logistics in the city- Current developments in the inner cities
  2. COVID-19 as a challenge and opportunity for the "last mile"
  3. Containers: Also a logistics solution for the "last mile"
  4. Solution approach: Intermodal logistics chain
  5. Product components and requirements
  6. Scope and scenarios
  7. Summary and outlook

Also interesting: A video about the cargo tram

Your Contact

Dirk Schmidt

E-Mail: dirk.schmidt@eura-ag.de

Tel.: +49 3682 400 62 15



+49 7961 9256-0


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