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Online orders deliver urban gridlock

Traffic jam in Berlin
Carmaggeddon. Brought to you by DHL. Source: picture alliance

Ordering online may be highly convenient, but is having a disastrous effect on city planning. Growing e-commerce is choking Germany’s densely populated urban areas with noisy, heavy trucks.

Local authorities, grappling with double-parking delivery vans and frustrated commuters, are scrambling for ways to stem the mushrooming logistical nightmare. According to a report from the consultancy PwC, freight transportation makes up to 30 percent of all urban traffic, but 80 percent of peak-hour inner city traffic.

As German consumers fall in love with same-day delivery and German companies compete to provide it, so the congestion problem is only set to get worse. Across Germany, 3.16 billion packages were delivered in 2016. Numbers estimated to jump by 30 percent to 4.15 billion by 2021, after nearly doubling in volume since 2000 (see first chart).

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