Who moves the locker? A benchmark study of alternative mobile parcel locker concepts

43 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2022

Date Written: March 21, 2022


Stationary parcel lockers have established as useful delivery options, especially for those
households where nobody is at home during typical parcel delivery times. However, having
to move toward a locker, maybe after a tiring workday, can be inconvenient for customers.
Mobile parcel lockers, especially when driving autonomously, can be positioned closer to
the customers and thus seem as a logical next evolutionary step to reduce customer inconvenience. Until autonomous driving is finally realized, however, mobile parcel lockers
depend on human-driven vehicles to reposition them, and this paper compares optional
locker-vehicle-driver setups. In the most restrictive case, a parcel locker is fixedly mounted
onto a vehicle and equipped with a dedicated driver. But a human driver can also be in
charge of multiple lockers, so that the driver must travel, e.g., via public transport, between
different lockers in order to reposition them. There are also first concepts without a fixed
coupling of lockers that are only loaded onto their vehicles. Hence, a vehicle equipped
with an automated handling mechanism can subsequently reposition multiple mobile locker
modules between different parking positions. Based on the assumption that a given set of
customers is to be serviced with a predefined service level, this paper provides a flexible
multi-stage optimization approach that minimizes the total costs associated with each of
these concepts. This algorithm is applied in a benchmark study to compare the alternative
mobile parcel locker concepts, and our results reveal substantial differences among them

Keywords: : Urban logistics, Parcel lockers, Benchmarking, Optimization

JEL Classification: R41

Suggested Citation

Schwerdfeger, Stefan and Boysen, Nils, Who moves the locker? A benchmark study of alternative mobile parcel locker concepts (March 21, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4063099 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4063099

Stefan Schwerdfeger

University of Jena ( email )

Furstengraben 1
Jena, Thuringa 07743

Nils Boysen (Contact Author)

University of Jena ( email )


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