Last week Amsterdam city council gave the green light and a 10-year licence to an ambitious plan to use trams to deliver goods to city centre shops and cafés and so improve air quality.

It would be churlish to criticise efforts to cut city traffic and pollution but there are a lot of unanswered questions about this project.
For a start the go-ahead was given on the basis of a three-week trial involving just two trams and no cargo.
Then there is the question of capacity. Lucky licence-holder CityCargo says it wants to have 10 trams in service by the second half of next year ‘if capacity on the tram network allows’. Don’t they know the answer? What a strange basis for a business.
Then there are the logistics. Cargo will be loaded into the trams at four large depots on the outskirts of the city. And CityCargo says it is now in talks with the various local authorities to set up several 35-metre-long mini-depots just outside the city centre where the freight will be unloaded from the trams into electric cars for the final stage of the journey. So that somewhat vital little link in the chain has not been agreed either.
And then, finally, there is the money to pay for it all. Amsterdam city council is delighted that this is an entirely privately-funded enterprise. But about money, CityCargo is strangely silent.

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