A Campus hub

‘With a campus hub, the number of on-campus transportation movements will be reduced.’

Context and relevance

By delivering goods to the campus through a hub, reductions in transportation movements and CO2 emissions are possible. A hub can consolidate deliveries and jointly transport them to the final destination. Depending on the hub’s location in the supply chain, the gains in terms of CO2 emissions and transportation miles can differ. As such, a distribution centre (a supplier hub) will have different consequences to those of a hub located on the city outskirts (a city hub) or on campus (a campus hub). These consequences can affect both the service level and the costs. Two HAN students researched these scenarios for the Living Lab Heijendaal project. First, they looked at the difference between using a city hub and a campus hub (Van Dusschoten, 2021). Second, they investigated a logistic concept for the implementation of a campus hub. Additionally, they considered a scenario that combines the campus hub with a city hub.

Research question

 The central question for the first project was: “What impact has the implementation of a city or campus hub on CO2 emissions and the number of supplier transport movements for deliveries to on campus organisations?”

In the second project, they further investigated the implementation of a campus hub, answering the following question: “What is the basic structure of an integral logistical concept (ILC) with a campus hub for parcel deliveries to Campus Heijendaal, considering sustainability goals, service level, and costs?”

Research approach

For both research projects, the students sketched scenarios to compare different supply chain setups. The first investigation included four scenarios: 1) no hub, 2) a campus hub, 3) a city hub, 4) a campus and city hub. The transportation kilometres were calculated for these four scenarios by analysing supplier invoices from 2019. The CO2 emissions for each scenario were calculated using a manual produced by the organisation Transport and Logistics Netherlands (2020).

For the follow-up study into the ILC of a campus hub for parcel delivery, the different parcel processes for each of the organisations were mapped: from parcel reception to delivery and return mail pick up. The University Medical Centre (UMC) goods service (goederenontvangst) was chosen as a possible campus hub location. Three scenarios were developed to calculate the number of vehicles and their daily CO2 emissions: 1) direct delivery to the campus hub, transportation on campus organised by the campus institutions, 2) direct delivery to the campus hub, transportation on campus organised by an external party that consolidates the last leg with other deliveries, 3) delivery to the campus through a city hub, transportation on campus organised by the campus institutions.


Choosing the UMC goods service as a campus hub will positively influence campus sustainability and liveability. There may be a slight negative effect on service levels due to possible longer lead times, especially if a campus and city hub are implemented simultaneously

Impacts on goals living lab

Sustainability and liveability
Both research projects concluded that delivery through a campus hub would lead to both a reduction of on-campus transportation movements and CO2 emissions. However, delivery through a city hub would significantly increase these positive effects by reducing the to-campus transportation kilometres, whether or not in combination with a campus hub.

Costs were not a central theme of either research project. However, one advantage of using the UMC as a campus hub is its existing infrastructure and – physically – sufficient space for parcel deliveries for the HAN and the RU. For self-organised on-campus deliveries, cargo bikes and/or electric vehicles will need to be purchased.

Service level
Regarding the service level, a further advantage of locating the goods service at the UMC is the qualified staff, who are certified to receive dangerous goods. This means that future chemical deliveries for either the HAN or the RU could also be delivered through this hub.

Another theme regarding service level is the time taken for orders to be delivered. Employees may then need to take a longer lead time into account. For several types of supply this would not necessarily be an issue. However, in cases of essential goods supporting the UMC primary process this could be an issue.

Conclusions, policy recommendations, and directions for future research

By designating the goods service at the UMC as a campus hub, the number of on-campus transportation movements will be reduced. There are some requirements to make this happen or to make further improvements. If the on-campus institutions take responsibility for organising transport to and from the campus hub, one or more electric vehicles and charging units will need to be purchased. Moreover, the possible throughput capacity of the UMC location may need to be considered. For parcel deliveries, this is not an issue.

Deliveries through a city hub, not necessarily combined with a campus hub, will have a further positive effect on the campus’ sustainability. This solution requires considering the delivery characteristics, such as the urgency of orders and whether goods are considered dangerous or not. Furthermore, both employees and suppliers will need to adapt to this new delivery address.

To complete the picture of the integral logistical concept, a further investigation of the management and information systems and the staff necessary to run the hub is recommended.