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METI Promotes Parking Lot Sharing among Convenience Store Chains for their Distribution Vehicles

Overcoming social challenges faced by the distribution industry

January 10, 2019

Under support of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd., FamilyMart Co., Ltd. and Lawson, Inc. reached an agreement on the sharing of parking lots for their distribution vehicles. These companies will start the first sharing of a parking lot on January 15(Tue.), 2019.

1. Background

Nearly 58,000 convenience stores are running business across Japan and their locations are rich in variety, such as commercial facilities in front of stations, universities, and hospitals. In addition, as convenience stores operated by Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd., FamilyMart Co., Ltd. and Lawson, Inc. are designated as “designated public institutions” under the Disaster Countermeasures Basic Act, they are expected to play an important role in case of disasters and are recognized as indispensable social infrastructures.

Nevertheless, convenience store chains are facing challenges such as the fact that many convenience stores in downtown areas of cities do not have their own parking lots large enough to accept their distribution trucks, and that labor-shortage causes difficulty in maintaining two-drivers-per -truck system for distribution trucks. As Japan will host forthcoming international events, e.g., the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and the 2025 World Exposition in Osaka - Kansai, it is an urgent task for convenience store chains to stably secure parking lots for their distribution vehicles.

2. Sharing of parking lots

METI hereby announces that to overcome this situation, Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd., FamilyMart Co., Ltd. and Lawson, Inc. will start a new initiative called “Sharing of Parking Lots for Own Distribution Vehicles.” In this initiative, these companies will share parking lots in the areas nearby their respective convenience stores. This sharing will permit them to stably secure parking lots at reasonable costs and contribute to maintain a sustainable distribution system for convenience stores.

Taking advantage of METI’s support measures and receiving advice from the Japan Franchise Association, these three convenience store companies have been advancing discussions over about 18 months to achieve such sharing of parking lots. As part of this, Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd. and Lawson, Inc. found an appropriate parking lot nearby two of their respective convenience stores and they decided to start sharing as a kickoff of the new initiative. In this first attempt, they will renovate part of the coin-operated parking lot and exclusively share it among their respective distribution trucks. Moreover, as the second case, Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd. and FamilyMart Co., Ltd. are scheduled to start sharing of a parking lot nearby their respective convenience stores.

[Target convenience stores for the first sharing]

[Target parking lot to be shared]

3. Future actions

Based on the information and knowledge obtained from this sharing, METI will advance standardization involving parking lot sharing among convenience store chains, e.g., preparation of document formats for procedures required for sharing and templates for sharing operation, so as to further encourage the initiative to share parting lots. Moreover, METI will promote developing foundations on which business-matching activities to share parking lots will be accelerated, including sharing parking lots among other convenience store chains not limited to these three companies and retail stores and service providers. METI recognizes the distribution industry as a harmonization area and, based on this recognition, it will continue to support companies in advancing activities for business-matching and cooperation with conventional competitors in the same industry and cross-sectoral companies.

Division in Charge

Consumer Affairs, Distribution and Retail Industry Division, Commerce and Service Industry Policy Group, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau