Improved goods logistics at Amsterdam Central Station

nspoortAmsterdam Central Station is currently undergoing a metamorphosis as it is being transformed into a high-quality gateway to Amsterdam. The railway station is an important travel interchange and must be large enough to accommodate a growing number of passengers. From the new, second main entrance which will be built facing the River IJ, travellers will be able to walk directly to the metro, the bus stop or, via two passageways, through the station towards the city centre. Both the new station hall and the passageways will feature cafés, shops and other facilities. The platforms and tunnels are also being modernised.

One of the results of the metamorphosis is approximately 10,000 square metres of additional retail space. This considerable increase demands attention for the flow of goods to the station, especially in view of the many other factors that are involved. For instance, Amsterdam Central Station is a listed building because of its role in the cityscape. In practice, this means that all the station functions (including travellers, technology, safety, goods, etc.) are competing for the limited amount of space within the four walls of the building.

Shop deliveries

Shop deliveries may not cause a hindrance to travellers, and especially not during the morning and evening rush hour. Furthermore, shops must be replenished reliably, the operational costs for handling and storage at the station must be minimal, and rental income must be high; the latter prerequisite translates into maximising the amount of commercial space. Additionally, the number of truck movements to and from the station must be minimised.

As a final point, the logistics design must also be robust. Even in the case of growing traveller numbers (and volumes) or in the event of a calamity such as the breakdown of a goods lift, shops must still be guaranteed of receiving deliveries on time. In short, the sheer number and variety of factors involved mean that goods logistics at Amsterdam Central is a very complex puzzle.

Designing goods logistics

Involvation helped NS Stations to design the goods logistics. The first step was to gain a clear picture of all the givens and influencing factors mentioned above. Then the ideal and feasible basic forms were determined per store format, and these were subsequently used as the starting point for deciding on the optimal approach for each store format.

The design, along with the floor plan of the future station, was simulated to reveal potential bottlenecks, which were then analysed. It became apparent, for example, that at a number of locations insufficient logistics space had been reserved which would make it difficult to handle the flow of goods. It was also ascertained that the logistics areas would clog up due to the return flows of empty roll containers. Various potential solutions to this problem were assessed, resulting in a shuttle service being introduced in combination with the transport of small deliveries being consolidated. This enabled the collection frequency of the return flows to be raised without any notable increase in the total number of truck movements.

When developing the logistics design, in addition to concrete changes to the ‘programme of requirements’ for the renovation work at Amsterdam Central Station, NS Stations also gained a better insight into the urgency of the problems surrounding freight logistics and the associated considerations. Furthermore, a management model has been designed which enables the guarantee of efficient and reliable shop replenishment with a minimal amount of logistics space.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler
Albert Einstein