Exploring the relationship between urban freight demand and the purchasing behaviour of a University

Paulus T. Aditjandra*, Thomas H. Zunder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: This research was focused on the ‘receiver’ end of the supply chain that has, in recent years, emerged as a novel area of investigation by European urban freight researchers. The paper explores the importance of procurement policy and mechanisms in a higher education establishment in order to drive a sustainable approach to inbound logistics. There is little known of the purchasing behaviour at individual level within such organisations. A localised city logistics Delivery Service Plan, within a ‘coherent campus strategy’ for an academic campus was established at Newcastle University, located at the centre of a medium size British city.

Method: Purchasing data and interviews with the purchasing manager demonstrated the current state of purchasing practice at the University, relative to the benchmarks established in the literature. In order to better understand the relationships between delivery services, the urban environment, and staff attitudes, a questionnaire was conducted with Newcastle University staff, addressing the purchasing of all goods to be delivered to the workplace.

Result: Multivariate analysis of cross-sectional data, as well as qualitative analysis, shows that variable frequency in demand can be explained by: job type; the different ways to raise a purchase order (PO); type of goods purchased; expected delivery times; and from where the PO originates. The findings suggest that training within specific staff roles would benefit the University’s urban freight coordination and management. We can also see that a very small core of people raise most of the orders and that, through them, it should be possible to influence the majority of orders. Lastly, demonstrating to the University’s Executive that employee views on private purchasing directly influence the practice, has convinced the board that changing purchasing behaviour towards freight efficiency is a feasible option for a sustainable institutional organisation.

Conclusion: The key contribution of this paper is demonstration of the important role of logistics receiver can make in delivering sustainable city logistics. This is especially true for large organisation with multi-sited and multi-level management (central vs local) that require multi-type of logistics in a city-centred bound historic built environment University. This paper shed light on identifying the key determinants of freight demand at University that can be managed and act as catalyst for accommodating urban freight in city planning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalEuropean Transport Research Review
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Academic institution
  • City logistics
  • Freight delivery
  • Purchasing behaviour
  • Receiver-led initiative
  • Sustainability
  • Urban freight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Mechanical Engineering


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