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Logistics optimisation in the circular economy through coupling of supply and disposal with the help of a logistic management system

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Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
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Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

At the latest with the entry into force of the Recycling and Waste Management Act (KrW- / AbfG) in 1996, a situation was reached in the area of waste disposal that the ecological objectives of this act - increasing segregation and recycling of waste and thus sustainable conservation of resources - are accompanied by an increasing traffic development causing environmental damage.

In the area of disposal logistics, numerous transports have emerged, which have been created by the idea of resource conservation, but which are inefficient from a traffic logistical point of view. An example of this is the extremely high percentage of empty runs, which is also related to the fact that usually monofractions are transported and the disposition of these transports are highly specialized solutions of the individual companies.

A combination of different partners from the areas of supply and disposal to a network would significantly contribute to reducing these empty runs drastically. In particular, a rural-structured area, such as the area in Lower Saxony and the surrounding area of Bremen which are considered in this research project, is particularly suitable for such an exploration, since here are, due to the very low density of waste producers and waste converters, large distances with correspondingly significant savings potential.


The aim of this research project within the scope of the research focus "Optimal transports in waste management" of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research was the exploration of the feasibility of coupling supply and disposal procedures and creation of the prerequisites. The prerequisites are:

  • Clarify the legal restrictions for joint transports.
  • Analysis of the wastes suitable for the concept
  • Description of the current situation in waste disposal logistics at the model region
  • Market potential analysis of supply transport in the sample region
  • Development of an EDP (Electronic Data Processing) concept for the optimization of the logistics and its implementation.

The project’s approach is based on the coupling of supply and disposal transports in the field of the general cargo. The target area is a model region in northwest Germany, where the two waste management companies

  • GMA Gesellschaft für Materialkreislauf und Abfallwirtschaft GmbH & Co. KG (Wiefels)
  • Nehlsen AG (Bremen)

are located.

The project is divided into the following work packages:

  • Analysis of suitable waste and production products for the concept
  • Logistic analysis in the model region
  • Market analysis in the model region
  • Development of an optimized logistics concept
  • Development of an EDP system to control the logistics concept
  • implementation
  • evaluation


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Akademie Rheinland GmbH, PT MVBW - on behalf of Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)
Funding Source
Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF


The framework conditions for a common transport in the area of supply and disposal are to be assessed from the legal and the technical side. If there are mental reservations about a common transport of products and wastes, the reasons are less due to the presence of waste, but rather due to aspects such as the time frame of the delivery, etc., as the market analysis showed. The market analysis provided concrete indications which sectors to be addressed according to which criteria and with which priority. In order to be able to fulfill the wishes of the customers for logistical services and other service aspects, the EDP of the waste disposers has to be expanded by elements of a forwarding company. These elements were identified in the second phase of the project, and the software modules that best complement the existing EDP systems of the participating waste management companies were selected. Together with the EDP providers, the resulting interfaces were clarified and were subsequently programmed. At the end of the project, the hardware (on-board computer) and software were successfully transferred to the company and initial evaluations on the efficiency were carried out. The route planning showed an improvement of approximately 15-20 km/d (or 6.5-8.7%).

In the case of the exploitation of space, an improvement of 10% is obtained with the aid of the EDP. With regard to the transport volume in the area of ​​bulk goods of the GMA, this corresponds to a relief of almost 20% for the tkm.

The GMA is planning to extend the use of the EDP solution to the areas of container and removable container handling. This covers a vehicle fleet of about 100 vehicles. This will transfer the experience gained from the research project from the area of general cargo to the area of container changeover.

Findings of the study are published in detail by a final report (German only) which is available online via[searchspace]=tn


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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