Although freight issues are often the subject of controversy within urban communities, urban freight stake-holders rarely participate in local planning processes. This paper studies how different criteria to ensure actor participation in collaborative processes are practised in urban freight planning in seven Norwegian cities. The authors link different criteria of actor participation to Arnstein’s “ladder of citizen participation”, and study if the collaborative urban freight arenas provide participants with enough power to affect the outcome of improved planning process for urban freight. Participatory observation of collaborative arenas in Norwegian cities, com-bined with interviews with participating actors, revealed that knowledge and consensus building allowed stakeholders to reach the ﬁfth step on the ladder of participation. The ﬁndings suggest that city characteristics inﬂuenced what criteria were most important. One important ﬁnding was the need to introduce a tenth criterion ‘political and planning anchorage’, which seemed particularly important for private stakeholders’ participation in collaborative processes. This ﬁnding may be of value to local authorities striving to enhance stakeholder participation and include both private and public stakeholder concerns in urban freight planning.