Skip to main content
Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Urban Freight Last Mile Logistics-Challenges and Opportunities to Improve Sustainability: A Literature Review

Bosona, Techane


Last mile logistics (LML) is the least efficient and complex part of supply chain. The main objective of this study was to identify major challenges of urban freight LML and opportunities for intervention. For this, 42 peer-reviewed full papers published after 2010 and three additional references were used. The findings indicated that urban freight flow has a trend of steady growth. The main driving forces behind this steady growth are population growth, urbanization, densification, globalization, online and omni-channel (OC) retailing, and urban economic development. Using typology analysis, three main potential freight LML configurations were mapped and discussed. Freight LML configurations that involve light cargo vehicles and cargo bike-based delivery schemes could be more attractive freight LML models if the delivery failure is minimized. The LML challenges were categorized as technological, infrastructural, LML system and management, and logistic cost related challenges, and discussed broadly. Similarly, the potential opportunities were discussed from environmental, economic, and social sustainability aspects. Finally, this report has pinpointed future potential research agendas related to LML. The study could be a knowledge base useful for academicians and practitioners, logistics and technical service providers, policy makers, and customers.


freight last mile logistics; LML typology; LML challenges; LML sustainability; urban freight flow

Published in

2020, volume: 12, number: 21, article number: 8769
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities
SDG9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

UKÄ Subject classification

Transport Systems and Logistics
Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)