RT&D Roadmaps for European Transport Logistics of the future
To succeed in breaking the link between economic growth and growth in transport demand, as the European Council has set as a primary target, it is necessary to succeed in developing of truly intermodal Pan-European transport systems. To achieve this, the European Commission has stressed that research needs to be better linked to both policy making influencing the framework conditions, and to industry to enhance the competitiveness through technological and organisational innovation.
The scope of the EUTRALOG project has then been to identify recommendations for RTD-initiatives for supporting policy identification and policy making. Indeed, the core of EUTRALOG has been on the European Transport Industry and its practises. With the support of a Steering Committee composed of transport experts, the EUTRALOG results have not only implied thematic propositions and project ideas, but also widely encompassed recommendations to how this dialogue can be accommodated and enhanced on a European scale in the future.
The objectives of the project were to:
- establish a creative forum where research, industry and policy meet to exchange and develop RTD ideas and recommendations in the field of Transport Logistics;
- expand the constituency of and to achieve critical mass to support future RTD activities in the field of European Transport Logistics;
- contribute to the structuring of a strong European Research Area in transport logistics also strengthening the international co-operation;
- make recommendations to policy programs aiming to support performance and integration of transport systems and logistics operations;
- strengthen awareness of the importance of SMEs and the alignment of logistics systems of candidate countries;
- identify prioritized research themes in the field of transport logistics with a particular focus on developing intermodality;
- effectively disseminate results and increase awareness of the objectives of EUTRALOG.
EUTRALOG has addressed some of the central socio-economic challenges identified by the CEC and European Council: socio-economic scenarios for mobility of goods, driving forces in goods transport, policies for sustainable mobility, transport and mobility services at the strategic level where research, policy and industry requirements and objectives meet.
Though EUTRALOG addresses high-level strategic issues, the ambition was to devise practical advice. That is, identification of themes, concrete steps and initiatives at the short, mid and long term for the European Commission in relation to the realisation of the 6th Framework Programme.
EUTRALOG has finally drawn up RTD Roadmaps for European Transport Logistics meeting these requirements. The identification of these Roadmaps has been based on the following three pillars.
1) Good policy practises – the international experiences.
Good policy practices and examples of successful policy programmes or pitfalls in sustaining the development of efficient transport logistical systems and practises from the international community gave valuable input to the project. This concerned not the least also the way in which research initiatives were integrated in the programmes.
The main activities and studies carried out were:
- systematic analysis of R&D and promotion programmes and projects in the field of transport logistics;
- assessment of national and international logistics policies and policies that are related to transport logistics;
- comparison of programmes and policies in the field of transport logistics, including experiences from other countries;
- recommendations to European policy programmes aiming at sustaining the development of efficient and sustainable transport logistics.
2) Driving forces and direction of change.
The main activities and studies carried out were:
- assessment of the main drivers for change in transport demand and the impact on the European transport markets (segmentation of actors, services and goods);
- scenarios for intermodality in the future transport markets and assessments of the necessary steps /advances in terms of new research, new industry practises, new policy initiatives;
- identification of major challenges to succeed in aligning the transport systems of NAS with the future
The recommendations of EUTRALOG have been prioritised, based on the results of the studies carried out in EUTRALOG, the partners’ expertise ad the support of the Steering Committee. In general it can be said that the experts are of the opinion that nearly all of the proposed RTD themes and actions can be started at short term and that there is a significant preference for those activities that are expected to deliver results at short term.
The results of the prioritisation also show a strong preference for practical applications; the best practices are considered to act best for instruction and improvement c.f. the methodology of benchmarking which also has proven to be very effective to start and to support improvement processes. Sharing experiences and adaptation of best practices is emphasised as an effective means for improvement.
The top ranking of the action on “best practices of intermodal projects shows that there apparently is a necessity to know more about the application possibilities of intermodality. This confirms the actions already taken by the EC to start a project in the 6th Framework on “logistics best practices”.
The next best score is the “application of advanced inventory deployment”. Here the issue of logistics planning and the use of information technology play an important role and this is predominantly a research project.
It also is remarkable to notice that the need for educational programmes to include intermodality scores very high. This means that the existing education programmes apparently pay insufficient attention to the subject of intermodality and that there is a strong need for further education in this sector.
The high score of the following RTD themes does indicate that these are seriously to be considered as potential projects:
- Further development of the Freight Integrator concept;
- Identify new intermodal concepts;
- Potential value of consolidation centres.
The development of ICT systems that act as means of integration of the links in the supply chain is also one of the most important drivers in transport logistics. The backlog in know how and education is a barrier for the required development in this sector.
It is further remarkable that the “dehurrification” project is not considered of high importance though it has a great potential for reducin
As a result of the roadmap analysis the conclusions lead to the following general recommendations:
- The existing gap between the “world of transport” and the interests of the European industrial shippers requires the design of a “European transport logistics business models”. This will better accommodate future needs and can act as a basis for further development of the European infrastructure and increase the efficiency and the effectiveness of the European transport logistics operations. This also can serve as a guideline for the European policy makers.
- On short term a project should be started on making a survey and analysis of the “best practices of inventory deployment and supply chain operations”. Learning cases should be build (e.g. examples of best practices in different industries) which can function as ‘standards’ for other companies. The aim should be to create awareness and to make clear that advanced inventory management can contribute to both the company’s economic goals and to the sustainability of the company’s supply chain activities. Best practices can e.g. be found in the application of floating (or rolling) inventory concepts, virtual warehousing concepts, consolidation centres, inbound logistics collaboration, etc... The focus should be on the contribution that these Best Practices have on the sustainability of logistics systems, in combination with the advantages for the businesses involved. This project should start by creating first a theoretical basis and additionally making the survey selecting best practices. The emphasis in the first part of the project should be on the delivery of the theoretical basis and therefore an important contribution has to be given by universities and consultants. In the second part of the project the main roles are to be fulfilled by shippers and Logistics Service Providers (LPS) where already stock control is carried out. The approach can be similar to benchmarking projects and results can be expected at short term.
- An RTD study should be started “to design course material on logistics which includes intermodality”. Intermodality should be a fixed issue on the mental map of logistics professionals. Therefore RTD should focus on determining what specific intermodal subjects should be included in the logistics education programmes (both academic and practical). Also RTD could be focused at determining the potential and nece
European Logistics Association
Technische Universitaet Berlin; METTLE Deutschland GmbH
Grimaldi Logística España SL, Spain
Buck Consultants International; Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research