The logistics sector's patchwork quilt of IT solutions could soon be a thing of the past. EU project Aeolix will lead to the emergence of a "digital ecosystem", a pan-European information exchange platform. It will integrate all parts of the logistics chain, generating significant efficiency gains, which will be beneficial not least for the environment.
AEOLIX's goal is to make European freight transport more efficient by implementing digitization technologies. Freight and logistics processes should be improved to reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption by up to 30% across Europe's entire transport chains.
Many stand-alone solutions act as a brake on digitization processes
Many actors, each with their own IT systems, are involved in transporting goods from one location to another. Cross-border trade involves additional actors, such as customs authorities. The vast majority of documentation the sector uses to process shipments is still in non-digital formats. Paper is still king when it comes to shipping documents. This is due to the lack of an overall technical solution on the one hand. And, on the other, to inconsistent standardization in many places, a prerequisite for usable technical implementation. Stand-alone solutions abound and major shipping companies in particular have established in-house solutions. To make matters worse, digitization processes whose effect is intended to transcend individual businesses often cause considerable concerns about the security of corporate information.
Relief for infrastructure and the environment
This is where AEOLIX can make a difference: By developing common standards, the myriad of stand-alone solutions should evolve and converge into a holistic solution and, acting as a European data hub for data and information, ensure greater transparency and thus also enhanced efficiency. There are also important social aspects to consider in this context. A lack of efficiency in the transport logistics system means excess trucks on the roads because loads are not optimized or bundled across shipments and means of transport as they could be. This places a heavy burden not just on transport infrastructure but also on the environment.
Example: Living Lab Germany
The AEOLIX ecosystem is to be tested and implemented in three years in eleven so-called Living Labs representing the logistics and transport industry across Europe. The Living Labs will be in Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, Spain and the UK. The German Living Lab is located on the transport corridor between Port of Hamburg and Frankfurt. The partners involved in Living Lab Germany are the Hamburg Port Authority, House of Logistics & Mobility GmbH in Frankfurt as well as T-Systems and TX Logistics AG.
Living Lab Germany's goal is to analyze both the maritime freight-oriented value chain around the Port of Hamburg and the air freight-oriented value chain around Frankfurt Airport and come up with joint solutions to preserve and enhance their competitiveness. This will include considering transport alternatives on the Hamburg-Frankfurt corridor (rail/road) depending on traffic volumes, parking information and optimization of delivery slot planning at both hubs (Frankfurt Airport, Port of Hamburg).