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Goods Transport Management - Logistics as a Problem Solver

The demand for goods transport has been increasing steadily over the last few years. Transports exceed the capacity of the present traffic infrastructures. However, by using intelligent goods transport management, logistics can make a decisive contribution towards a sustainable improvement of the overall traffic situation.

In the course of globalization, as manufacturing bases became disconnected from the consumer markets they serve, intensive freight transportation between the continents has arisen. Goods transportation in this case is mainly carried out via air and sea. Within Europe and Germany, light and heavy goods vehicles are the main means of transport, for both long and short distances. Just-in-time concepts, but also the increase in very small delivery quantities which has come about due to e-commerce, are the cause of the high number of empty runs. However, the transport costs are not so high as to force companies to look for alternatives to trucks. In fact, the use of bigger and bigger trucks (gigaliners) is favored.

In the meantime, the possibilities of conventional transport optimization such as using larger and larger trucks, minimizing driving times or optimizing idle times have more or less been fully exploited. The capacities for handling and storage are limited. The reliability of transport chains is on the decrease while the susceptibility of logistics systems to fail is on the increase. Today, this causes more and more bottlenecks in supply and failures in industrial production. This key topic therefore focuses on intelligent goods transport management with innovative transport concepts. In particular it is about utilizing existing infrastructures more efficiently – in both transport routes and logistic facilities. The focus is on the development of supporting software systems.

The solutions and products developed in this key topic are intended to put logisticians – the people in logistics - in a position to make the right decisions in practice to achieve an acceptable use of resources.

Levels of Innovation

This key topic is a an effective problem solver giving new impetus to freight traffic to achieve secure and high-performance goods transportation. Among the essential fields of research are:

  • Secure transport chains by using multimodal networks, increasing the system stability of procurement and distribution network
  • More flow capacity and quality in logistics facilities, efficient planning and operation of logistics facilities
  • Increase the strengths of transport carriers, reducing the complexity and increasing the flexibility of multimodal transport
  • Better information links using IT to establish transparency for offers and to improve communication to keep information up to date and dynamic.

Potentials of this Key Topic

Today, logistics still frequently plays a subordinate role as far as manufacturing companies are concerned. Production (for example, the reduction of manufacturing costs) and marketing (for example, the extension of product lines) are still seen to be more important than logistics. Companies still underestimate the possibilities logistics has to deliver more efficiency throughout the company by using an integrated view. Intelligent transport optimization does not focus on cost reduction by achieving less expensive transportation or by making staff savings, it is much more about making better use of existing systems and operating them at full capacity.

At the same time, goods transport management is also about treating resources carefully and achieving responsible supply chains. This implies a change of thinking for the producers as well as for the consumers who have to become more open for such ecological aspects.

Goods transport of the future requires flexible procurement and distribution networks, the systematic implementation of all means of transportation and more efficient utilization of the available logistic facilities.

Contact person

Prof. Dr. Alex Vastag


Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML

Phone: +49 (0) 231 97 43 382


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