Global Logistics: Challenges and Solutions
German and U.S. experts discussed trends and developments in efficient, sustainable, and secure transportation networks.
In today's globalized world, the distribution of goods is the backbone of international economics. In order to guarantee a steady global supply in the near future, logistics processes have to become more sustainable and secure. On March 14, the German Center for Research and Innovation and ConRuhr North America convened German and U.S. experts from the EffizienzCluster LogistikRuhr, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Lufthansa Cargo, and DB Schenker, Inc., to discuss related trends, developments and solutions in worldwide transportation networks.
Prof. Dr. Uwe Clausen, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, introduced the EffizienzCluster LogistikRuhr, a winner of Germany’s Leading-Edge Cluster competition. The cluster’s main goals include research in efficient resources management, preserving individuality, as well as ensuring a secure urban supply. “Thinking about logistics is not only about meeting customers’ demands. When we look into the future, we likewise have to promote environmental and social sustainability,” Prof. Clausen said, adding that logistics improvement is also about efficient structures and processes.
In his presentation on optimizing airport sequences and designs, Dr. John-Paul Clarke, Director of the Air Transportation Laboratory at GeorgiaTech, addressed the importance of aviation as a viable part of worldwide mobility and supply. 40% of global cargo is transported by air freight, while delivery delays and congestion added up to $ 10 billion in costs in 2009. Thus, optimized plane arrivals and departures and adjusted airport architecture reduce noise, local emissions, fuel usage, as well as flight duration and waiting time for passengers. “Creating a sequence system that is properly optimized is a key to stable logistics,” Dr. Clarke said.
James LoBello, Head of Security, The Americas, Lufthansa Cargo Group, introduced Lufthansa Cargo’s security approach and overall security standards in the air cargo industry. Mr. LoBello emphasized the importance of joint security standard recognition and regulations between the EU and U.S. “We need mutual guidelines and more partnerships to clear cargo for all parties and to guarantee safe and efficient air transportation,” he said, whereas robust security plans have to be flexible at the same time. Combining different technologies and security procedures as well as homogenous staff training and accreditation are crucial to maintaining secure air logistics chains.
Jan Hinz, Transatlantic Trade Lane Director of Ocean Freight Region Americas at DB Schenker, Inc., addressed data-driven security and visibility in maritime transportation networks. Mr. Hinz introduced DB Schenker’s smartbox, an innovative freight security solution for real-time visibility throughout the supply chain. This tracking device facilitates GPS position monitoring, security status surveillance (doors open/closed, light, motion), as well as cargo status updates such as temperature, humidity, vibration or tilt, and thus enhances strategic process planning capabilities.
Larry Fannin, Director of Trade Compliance & Regional Logistics in the Americas at Carl Zeiss, moderated the discussion, which took place at the German Center for Research and Innovation in New York.