Efficient use of transport modes and resources requires understanding the options and alternatives and being able to make the right logistics choices. Benchmarking is an instrument which can help to answer this question. Differences in the performance of various modes within the transport sector of a given country, and between the transport systems of different countries, imply that there is a significant potential for improvement. Ongoing technological advances and changes in economic and institutional approaches ensure that this potential is constantly evolving. The transportation sector is influenced and moulded by ongoing economic, environmental and political (usually in the form of public finances) pressures to realise its potential for improvement. BE LOGIC project vision In our opinion, the major improvement potential in logistics performance is among small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), including shippers with relative small transport volumes. Therefore, the focus in BE LOGIC lies on applying the logistics benchmark methodology on SME's.
Key objectives of BE LOGIC:
- Improve the efficiency within and across different modes of transport
- Support the development of a quality logistics system
Derived objectives and research questions:
- Develop a methodology to assess transport logistics performance in quantitative terms at different levels in Europe and globally
- Applying the benchmark methodology to assess logistics and intermodal policies of Member States and other countries - and to assess transport logistics choices and performance from shippers/LSP - and to assess transport logistics performance from transshipment points
- Examine existing quality standards (e.g. ISO, CEN) for transport logistics
- Consider the need for new quality standards for transport logistics
Our approach includes 3 viewpoints:
- Viewpoint of the policy maker
- Viewpoint of transport chains
- Viewpont of transhipment points.
The BE LOGIC objectives will be achieved following an approach structured on 3 different points of view:
Viewpoint from the policy makers
The viewpoint of the policy maker is important. European policy makers have a major influence on shaping the right framework conditions for efficient and sustainable transport logistics in Europe. The policy benchmark will provide clear recommendations on how policies could be improved and become more effective in reaching their objectives.
Viewpoint from transport chains
The transport chain point of view is crucial for the shipper demanding logistics transport services. The shipper is not interested in optimisation of pieces of the transport chain, but in cheap, qualitative and reliable door-to-door transport. Since an efficient transport chain requires efficiency of different transport operators in complex intermodal transport chains, the internal efficiency of service providers is also relevant. However, an individual operator will strive for a high fleet utilisation, which might lead to accepting transport orders without return freight, thus not contributing to a high occupancy rate of the transport means. In many cases however, the efficient performance of transport service providers also benefits their customers. If this is not the case, the benchmark methodology will clearly distinguish between these two user groups.
Viewpoint from transshipment points (terminals)
The transshipment points are crucial elements in inter-modal transport chains and require specific attention. Inland terminals benefit from a strategic position in Europe’s hinterland, representing important nodal points located along the main corridors and industrial areas in the EU. As typical nodal points for freight, inter-modal terminals and inland ports are very attentive to conditions that should ensure good connections between the different transport modes. Some terminals are acting as public service ports, purely financed by regional or local authorities (e.g. Port Autonome de Strasbourg), other ports are purely commercial driven. Transshipment points are also crucial elements in transport chains from the safety and security point of view (e.g. in the new Regulation 1875/2006 on Supply Chain Security). These typical characteristics require a dedicated benchmark approach from the point of view of inter-modal terminals.
An important result of the project is an e-tool that aims to support a company’s search for potential strategic improvements due to a modal change. In order to compare the current practice with an alternative based on a different transport mode, six main criteria are used: time, cost, flexibility, reliability, quality and sustainability. The alternatives are compared with each other, giving a percentage difference on each of the criteria. The combination of these criteria provides the user with a broad overview of the potential effects of a modal change. The BE LOGIC tool makes use of the judgement of the user, a terminal database containing intermodal services and a calculation tool for emissions.
The tool is mainly aimed at SMEs, but is definitely also very useful for larger companies that want to investigate the impacts of a modal shift on the six aforementioned criteria (time, cost, flexibility, etc.). Especially cargo owners (shippers) can use the tool to see if a modal shift helps them to ‘green’ their supply chain, while at the same time keeping other performance criteria at least at the same level. Of course the same applies to transport companies.
The European Intermodal Route Finder with routes between more than 800 terminals in EU-27, Norway and Switzerland.
An efficient and integrated mobility system: Service quaility and reliability
The results of this project have been implemented.