In response to the Paris Agreement, more and more governments, associations, and businesses are setting bold climate targets. As is set out in the European Green Deal, the ambition for Europe is to be the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050. This will be achieved with a two-step approach designed to reduce CO2 emissions by 50%, if not 55%, by no later than 2030.
The logistics sector should move to a paradigm in which they can do more with less. In parallel to the development of lower and zero-emission vehicles and low-emission energy, it is key to leverage opportunities for increased logistics efficiency. Alice envisions important benefits for all stakeholders by doing more with less in the freight and transport industry. The existing idle capacity of assets in all modes of transport and storage could be better utilized, and flows could be managed in a more consolidated way using and combining transport modes and other logistics assets smartly.
The Physical Internet Concept supports the implementation of the Zero Emissions Logistics 2050 Roadmap delivered in 2019 and building on the Truly Integrated Transport System for Sustainable and Efficient Logistics delivered in 2016.
The publication of a roadmap concludes a journey that started at the International Physical Internet Conference in Groningen in 2018 and the publication of the Roadmap towards zero emissions logistics in 2019. As Alice made decarbonization of logistics its main objective it was important to underline how Physical internet was still central.
Physical Internet is now a core strategy to achieve the main end: a logistics industry enabling a sustainable human ecosystem on Earth. So while the industry badly needs research in new technologies built around sustainable energy sources, the real innovative heavy lifting must be done now by counting mostly on current infrastructure and technological assets.
The roadmap has identified five main areas of development:
From Logistics Nodes to PI Nodes
In Logistics Nodes, goods are consumed, stored, transformed, or transhipped from one transport mode to another. Ports, airports, logistics hubs, terminals, distribution centers, warehouses, depots are examples of Logistics Nodes. The Physical Internet envisions the development of the Logistics Nodes into Physical Internet nodes in which the operations are standardized, and using a family of standard and interoperable modular load units from maritime containers to smaller boxes is extensive. Services in PI nodes are visible and digitally accessible and usable including planning, booking, and execution operations.
From Logistics Networks to Physical Internet Networks
Logistics Networks include Logistics Nodes as well as the transportation services connecting the Logistics Nodes and reaching the destination. Logistics Networks are under the control of a single company either a shipper, a freight forwarder, or a logistics service provider reaching their value chain (i.e., customers and suppliers). PI Networks are expected to build seamless, flexible and resilient, door-to-door services consolidating and deconsolidating all shipments within a logistics network in which all assets, capabilities, and resources are seamlessly visible, accessible, and usable to make the most efficient possible use of them.
Developing the System of Logistics Networks towards the Physical Internet
Includes individual logistics networks that are interconnected. Therefore, the assets, services, and resources of the individual logistics networks can be accessed by all logistics network owners. The System of Logistics Networks forms the backbone of the Physical Internet and requires secure, efficient, and extensible services for the flow of goods, information, and finances across logistics networks.
Access and Adoption
This area describes the main requirements to access the Physical Internet through a logistics network part of it. It also includes different steps and the mind shift required to adopt Physical Internet concepts.
Governance includes the developments needed to evolve the Logistics Nodes, logistics networks, and the System of Logistics Networks into the Physical Internet, i.e. the rules defined by the stakeholders forming or using them as well as the trust-building processes and mechanisms.