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Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences starts major study into sharing logistics

05 January 2020

Under the project name Sharing Logistics, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences – together with other educational institutions and partners from professional practice – is conducting a major study into the sharing economy as a promising development in the logistics sector. The research will run from September 2019 to April 2021.

Within the project, applied research is being carried out into the degree to which logistics concepts based on the sharing economy can contribute to a considerable reduction in CO2 emissions and nitrogen (N2) and to increasing efficiency in the sector. Logistics entrepreneurs can still apply to take part. Participating businesses will receive customised advice from students about how they can increase their returns, lower costs and reduce emissions. The research has been made possible by TKI Dinalog and comprises sharing projects within five focus areas: city distribution, construction logistics, transport & warehousing, care logistics and service logistics. Smart ICT and human capital are the common thread running through all the sharing projects. The partners from professional practice are Bouwend Nederland, Evofenedex, GroenCollect, KennisDC Logistiek, Nedcargo, OSI Global Supply Chains and TLN.

Background

Climate change, the Paris climate agreement and the European Union’s CO2 targets increase the need to accelerate the research into, development and implementation of solutions, which could contribute to realising those goals. For the Netherlands, this is translated into the Dutch National Research Agenda - Route 016 (TNO 2018), which states that besides using more efficient methods of transports and vehicles with low CO2 emissions, the logistics sector must urgently look for other ways to significantly reduce the CO2 intensity of its activities.

Logistics companies that have already started applying the sharing economy in their business operations record promising results, such as a higher use of capacity (+15%), lower transport costs (-15%) and lower CO2 emissions (-20 to -25%). Despite the fact that the benefits of the sharing economy are obvious to the sector, the reality is that such innovative logistics concepts are still only making slow progress.

Education and partners

Over 20 months (September 2019 to April 2021), logistics students and lecturers from three of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences’ institutes within the five focus areas will work on a range of projects under the management of the RDM Centre of Expertise and supported by the Research Centre for Sustainable Port Cities. Besides Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Breda University of Applied Sciences is also involved in the research, as are the partners from professional practice, Bouwend Nederland, Evofenedex, GroenCollect, KennisDC Logistiek, Nedcargo, OSI Global Supply Chains and TLN. The implementation of the research is fully integrated into the curriculum of the educational institutions involved, just as the results of the research will be.

Results

One of the desired results of Sharing Logistics is to create awareness in the logistics sector of how the sharing economy will affect the sector as a whole. The partners expect to achieve this by publishing articles and organising knowledge sessions and seminars. Additionally, they have set themselves the goal of advising at least 50 logistics companies – through specific thesis assignments – on what the sharing economy could mean for individual businesses in relation to CO2 and N2 reductions, efficiency improvements and new revenue models.

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