Project LOGICAL – transnational logistics' improvement through cloud computing and innovative cooperative business models - Project website about the transnational logistics cloud project LOGICAL

Project

The project is promoted by six infrastructure providers that are supported by economic development agents and logistics cluster associations. The partnership is completed by one research institute and two universities with enormous capacities to deliver innovative ICT solutions for the logistics sector. They will lead the elaboration of a joint standard for cloud computing in logistics (“cloud architecture”) and support all partners in the technical realisation.

All partners closely collaborate in the testing and transnational linking of data clouds (multi-cloud approach). Measures to raise the awareness among the final clients of cloud computing at the six logistics hubs are implemented throughout the entire lifetime, including workshops, local events, surveys. The strong involvement of businesses and their representatives ensures that the elaborated ICT device is matching their real needs.

Core outputs of the project are:

  • a universal standard for cloud computing in logistics,
  • the documentation of a yearlong test of beta-versions of data clouds at six hubs,
  • a fully operational transnational “LOGICAL Cloud”,
  • an onlinelearning tool for capacity building of logistics actors,
  • business plans and a long-term  maintenance agreement to secure the durable usage and
  • financing of the new ICT device.

The integration of cloud computing into the daily routines of  operators and infrastructure providers in logistics is the main result of  LOGICAL. It impacts an increased competitiveness as business interoperability is facilitated and has environmental benefits since the bundling of cargo is eased and sustainable modes of transport become more attractive options. To  transfer the cloud computing approach to other logistics hubs, LOGICAL is  widely disseminated at events, articles for journals, through networks, and a showcase presentation at the leading logistics fair.

Excerpt from a logistics ontology as the basis for a cloud computing standard
(reference: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), University of Hohenheim)

Project’s general objectives

Aiming to develop and introduce an highly innovative ICT service based on cloud computing to enhance the interoperability of actors in multi-modal logistics co-operation and major Central European logistics knots, LOGICAL contributes to the achievement of the objectives related to the chosen priority (#2: Improving Accessibility of and within Central Europe) and AoI (2.2: Developing Multimodal Logistics’ Co-operation) by:

  1. strengthening the logistics’ sector’s penetration with modern ICT services,
  2. increasing the cost-efficiency in logistics through a reduction of transaction costs of b2b co-operation,
  3. enhancing inter-modal co-operation in a common cloud computing system,
  4. promoting internal integration in Central Europe by developing and putting in practice an universal approach to which other (Central) European logistics hubs can adhere to, and
  5. networking major Central European logistics hubs to promote co-operation and exchange beyond TEN-T corridors.

LOGICAL outputs contribute to a higher competitiveness of Central Europe’s logistics sector, especially SME, as a highly innovative tool is introduced to provide access to management systems of global players and institutional actors on a pay-per-use basis with lower entrance costs. The attractiveness of participating logistics hubs as locations for the sector’s businesses is enhanced. Synergies of inter-modal co-operation are unleashed. The joint concept development, testing and finally market introduction leads to a strong knowledge network of Central European logistics hubs independently from corridor development efforts.

The project specifically addresses cloud computing as breakthrough innovation to reduce transaction costs in intermodal co-operation in logistics. The anticipated tool will

  1. provide better and affordable access to management systems of global players (e.g. Lufthansa Cargo) and institutional actors (e.g. infrastructure providers),
  2. allow actors in logistics to bundle their freight and take use of sustainable modes of transport (collective train instead of individual street-bound transport), and
  3. offer a framework for transnational co-operation among key actors in logistics (optimal usage of transport capacities).

As the introduction of cloud computing is designed universally, e.g. following a common cloud architecture, the adherence of other logistics hubs from the (Central) European area can easily be realised. The LOGICAL Cloud can therefore in the longer term also be used to promote intermodal co-operation of logistics hubs along TEN-T corridors.

With regard to the addressed final beneficiaries of LOGICAL, especially small enterprises who see their competitiveness limited by high costs to purchase licenses for the management systems of global players and institutional actors, benefit from a reduction of transaction costs as a pay-per-use pricing system can be realised in cloud computing. They furthermore receive a tool to facilitate the co-operation with other actors at their locations, and to engage in transnational partnerships with peers from other important logistics hubs. In addition, the capacities of their staff are enhanced as seminars in cloud computing are organised. Finally, the attractiveness of the logistics hubs where they are performing their entrepreneurial activities is increased as location marketing activities highlight cloud computing as competitive advantage. The final core output of LOGICAL is a cloud computing device that is fully operational and that links at least six major logistics hubs.

Innovative elements & approach of the project

The growth of the global exchange of goods leads to global competition in freight management. The substitution of storage capacities with just-in-time delivery practices puts businesses active in logistics under significant pressure and requires the use of modern ICT that therefore has become a relevant operational cost, especially the high costs related to data management and access to global players’ software systems. To provide actors in logistics with an universal ICT device that reduces their operational costs, allows them to bundle freight with identical destination, and enables them to manage transnational cargo flows, represents an INNOVATIVE GOAL. To transfer cloud computing, a technology that has only recently emerged and that was in the focus of attention at the latest ICT fairs, to the logistics sector represents an important asset in regard to CONTEXT-RELATED INNOVATION as that approach has yet only been introduced by logistics hubs in Southeast Asia (Singapor).

Finally, LOGICAL’s methodology foresees an INNOVATIVE PROCESS. Different to solutions already operational elsewhere, the project aims at a multi-cloud approach that consists out of location-specific clouds that are virtually linked. To achieve this final output, a Transnational Cloud Architecture is defined as core output of the project’s concept phase. The common architecture is based on carefully assessed parameters and ensures that data clouds can first be created, tested and brought to full operationality before they are transnationally linked. Furthermore, the adherence of data clouds of other logistics hubs that decide to adopt the innovative system is made possible. In addition, the foreseen process is based on continuous participation of businesses and their representatives in all development stages.