Nectar Cluster 2

E-groceries, digitalization and sustainability: Which governance, planning and regulation mix do our cities need? Molde University College, Molde, Norway, 11th and 12th of October 2018

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​Cluster 2 of NECTAR (Network of European Communications and Transport Activities Research) focuses on policy and environment and is organizing a meeting in Molde (Norway) on the 11th and 12th of October 2018.

Recent technology improvements and digitalization have had a profound impact on economies all-around the world. This will change how people interact with one another, how they work, how they travel and how they shop. Typical examples are driverless cars, home delivery by drones and productivity growth through robotization. Some of these technologies are still in their infancy, but other improvements can materialize in the near future. At the same time, there is a need to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and regional/local growth in motorized transport.

Concentrating on digitalized services connected to groceries, in general, with a specific focus on food as a subset, is relevant and important. In fact, a more transport efficient distribution of groceries to the final consumer has a significant potential for reducing the carbon footprint. Research shows that online grocery stores can reduce up to 50% of GHG emissions grocery deliveries produce. While such estimates are perhaps optimistic and contested by other research, the issue is important and worth investigating given its potential for GHG emission reductions.

The growth of the e-grocery industry and its impact on transport depends on several factors. The development is likely to depend both on the organization of the grocery industry and consumer preferences for online purchases. These two elements are strongly interlinked. In fact, a larger scale of home deliveries is likely to affect the structure and performance of the urban freight chain and the preferences may, in turn, be affected in a dynamic way. In addition, the success/failure of the solutions promoted will depend on local government policies with respect to transport and land use (e.g. the use of Automatic Parcel Lockers -APLs). As the last mile logistic distribution is characterized by increasing returns, the outcome will probably differ across more and less densely populated areas/regions.

The papers presented/discussed at the workshop should aid governance, planning and regulation as well as building competence for the industry and the public sector and to address to what extent this area of digitalization is likely to contribute to a more effective, sustainable transport system.
The focus on grocery shopping is because it is the most frequent and common form of shopping on one side and, on the other, is a very dynamic and fast growing segment at present and it is expected to be so also in the near future. 

The workshop will provide a unique international forum for researchers and experts in the field of transport, city logistics, economics, planning, mobility, technology, retail, marketing, geography and other relevant disciplines. The workshop aims at developing a better understanding of the interactions with respect to consumer preferences, retailing options, technology, organizational innovations, city planning, policy tools and their contribution to the sustainable mobility of urban areas.

Papers on any topic relevant to E-groceries, digitalization and sustainability in cities are welcome. Topics of special interest include, even if are not limited to:

  • Consumer preferences for on-line/off-line grocery buying
  • Alternative delivery service characteristics/configurations
  • Fulfilment issues with respect to on-line groceries retailing
  • Adoption of grocery online shopping
  • Grocery shopping and ageing population
  • Retailing strategies
  • Proximity stores, delivery fragmentation and routing
  • Modeling channel, store and mode choice
  • Modelling emissions for alternative distribution/delivery organization alternative
  • Public policy making and regulation

Interested participants are invited to submit an extended abstract of up to 750 words indicating title of the paper, author’s name, affiliation to Edoardo Marcucci - Molde University College and Valerio Gatta – University of Roma Tre. The abstract should clearly state:

1) research question and motivation, 2) related literature, 3) methodology and 4) expected results.

Criteria for acceptance are scientific quality of the abstract and NECTAR membership.

Selected papers are planned to be published in a special issue of a well-respected Journal after undergoing a standard peer review process. Additional details will be provided as soon as available. 

Free registration, meals, workshop dinner and accommodation for 1 night will be offered to 
NECTAR-members (one Author only per paper). All practical details will be communicated through the workshop website that will soon be online.

In order to participate to the Workshop, a NECTAR membership for (at least) 2018 is necessary. 
Non-members can find details on how to join the association at the “Membership” page on NECTAR’s website:


The workshop will take place at Molde University College in Molde which is a city and municipality in Romsdal in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. The municipality is located on the Romsdal Peninsula , surrounding the Fannefjord and Moldefjord. The city is located on the northern shore of the Romsdalsfjord. The city of Molde is the administrative center of Møre og Romsdal county, the administrative center of the Municipality of Molde, the commercial hub of the Romsdal region, and the seat of the Diocese of Møre.


Published Nov. 2, 2018 11:24 AM - Last modified Nov. 5, 2018 3:16 PM