The vision for the logistics network of the future is based on the idea of the Physical Internet, which aims at mimicking the (digital) internet in real-world for freight transportation. The main challenge therein is the alliance of flow of information as well as flow of goods. In the field of transportation, the main enabler is synchromodality – the real-time and optimized orchestration of all modes of transportation (rail, road, river, air) such that a continuous flow of goods can be achieved. AIT’s research on novel logistics concepts, interconnected transport services and impact assessment of these developments brings cutting-edge solutions from a holistic point of view.
As the logistics sector is one of the main contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, much effort must be undertaken to reduce emissions. At the same time, emphasis is placed on fast and seamless deliveries meaning that the volume of logistics service needs to be increased or at least kept as is. Based on this challenging situation it is indispensable that novel logistics concepts need to be developed. One major attribute of future logistics concepts is interconnectivity on multiple levels. On the one hand, multiple modes of transportation and/or multiple freight forwarders need to be orchestrated such that a seamless and consistent supply chain is guaranteed. On the other hand, the cooperation among producers, consumers, and supply chain becomes more and more important. I.e., not only the flow of goods needs to be facilitated but at the same time the information flow needs to be improved and ensured.
AIT’s research approach is twofold: On the one hand, we develop novel logistics concepts that integrate multiple stakeholders, their needs, as well as modes of transportation by using the Physical Internet concepts. E.g., logistics concepts aiming at the integration of city hubs and cargo bikes while still considering (conventional) trucks for heavy goods deliveries into urban logistics are promising. On the other hand, the cooperation among competing players (e.g. parcel delivery service providers collaborating for parcel deliveries in urban and rural areas) acts as a building brick. Furthermore, the planning of related infrastructure (e.g. hubs, transportation networks) is considered in these approaches. With respect to developments related to the transportation sector, AIT’s approach is to closely investigate the enablers and barriers of novel transportation concepts such as synchromodality. This includes, among others, the integration of all modes of transportation – existing or future – such as trucks, cargo-bikes, trains, drones, air cargo, and inland navigation. The relation to Mobility as a Service (MaaS) in the passenger transportation section is very close and considered as well.