The transport sector is both, intrinsically tied to almost every economic activity in a work-sharing economy (planned and conducted by logistics) and an important industry of its own. Transport’s efficiency is largely determined by intelligent logistics, defined as the integrated planning, operations management and controlling of the dynamic flows of goods, passengers, energy and information.
Within the last decades, logistics’ role has shifted from solely providing transportation services to more or less comprehensive planning and executing of complex production, distribution and recycling operations in company networks while using modern IT technologies as well as advanced quantitative and qualitative planning and management methods in the context of Supply Chain Management (SCM). In consequence, logistics has successfully undergone a paradigm shift from the classical triple of transport, stocking and turnover to a key instance of the socio-economic system.
Sustainability of transport goes beyond the minimisation of environmental impacts (“greening”) and the technological innovation of transport means and infrastructure. Simultaneously, it has to integrate aspects of social systems, consumer integration (as a major driver of demand and characteristics of transportation services) and new economic challenges/opportunities.
Alliances between science and companies as well as public authorities do benefit from cooperation through fostering and focussing the flow of research, innovation, implementation and dynamic improvement in this area. Success factors are manifold: they may include ICT, new planning and management algorithms and software development as well as their implementation in intelligent service-oriented software architectures (SoA) in “future internet” settings, highly versatile logistics infrastructures, the integration of methods derived from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental Management/Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) strategies, as well as all levels of knowledge transfer, training and competence development.
The field of sustainable transport logistics meets the requirements and characteristics of the current Regions of Knowledge call for cluster cooperation by several important features: (i) logistics is genuinely defined by a need for interaction and qualified communication, (ii) transport logistics is a key factor for the greening of transport, and (iii) the role of logistics is underestimated and needs public awareness to support an overall development towards more sustainability. This is the setting for the LOG4GREEN proposal.