The municipality of Groningen has instituted a one-year freeze on any new ultrafast delivery services and banned the opening of additional chain grocery stores. The city will enter into negotiations with grocery-delivery companies, such as Flink, Gorillas and Getir, following complaints they cause disruption and disturbance to local residents.
“Putting new branches on ice is a serious measure,” city councilor Roeland van der Schaaf told the news site Sikkom. “These companies are expanding fast, but their growth is becoming unmanageable.”
The main complaint with these services, like Flink’s operation on Oosterstraat or Gorillas’ on Oude Ebbingestraat, is that they turn local storefronts into distribution hubs which operate outside normal store hours, contributing to the disturbance. An increasing number of residents clash with high-speed deliverers over noise, reckless cycling, chaotic parking and waste.
Surrounding shop keepers, for their part, are unhappy that these companies allegedly misuse rules about opening warehouses, creating ‘dark stores’ in prime retail areas.
From the municipality’s perspective, the one-year freeze is a way to slow development and allow regulations to catch up. Groningen is not against the rapid delivery services, van der Schaaf emphasizes. “But they cause a lot of nuisance. Amsterdam and Rotterdam have done something similar, too.”
Additionally, the municipality put a halt to the expansion of supermarket chains in the city center that also create logistical problems. “The maneuvering of large delivery vehicles through residential areas causes considerable disturbance. We have reached our limit,” the councilor says.
Rapid delivery services benefit customers and employment, creating hundreds of jobs across the north Netherlands. The services are particularly popular with students who look to get a job to help supplement their income.