On the cost elasticity of inter-regional distribution structures: a case study for the Netherlands

IY Davydenko, L.A Tavasszy, Hans Quak

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Abstract

Several studies show that logistics facilities have spread spatially from relatively concentrated clusters in the 1970s to geographically more decentralized patterns away from urban areas. The literature indicates that logistics costs are one of the major influences on changes in distribution structures, or locations and usage of logistics facilities. Quantitative modelling studies that aim to describe or predict these phenomena in relation to logistics costs are lacking, however. This is relevant to design more effective policies concerning spatial development, transport and infrastructure investments as well as for understanding environmental consequences of freight transport. The objective of this paper is to gain an understanding of the responsiveness of spatial logistics patterns to changes in these costs, using a quantitative model that links production and consumption points via distribution centers. The model is estimated to reproduce observed use of logistics facilities as well as related transport flows, for the case of the Netherlands. We apply the model to estimate the impacts of a number of scenarios on the spatial spreading of regional distribution activity, interregional vehicle movements and commodity flows. We estimate new cost elasticities, of the demand for trade and transport together, as well as specifically for the demand for the distribution facility services. The relatively low cost elasticity of transport services and high cost elasticity for the distribution services provide new insights for policy makers, relevant to understand the possible impacts of their policies on land use and freight flows.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Cost elasticities
  • Distribution structures
  • Freight transport modelling
  • Logistics sprawl
  • Spatial logistics

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