NexTrust consortium receives European funding for research on collaboration across supply chain networks

NexTrust - a 30 member consortium of some of Europe’s leading thinkers on collaborative logistics - has secured a grant from the European Commission (EC). The grant has been awarded in a competition entitled “Fostering synergies alongside the supply chain (including e-commerce)” under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The project with a duration of 42 months is administrated by the EC’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA). Professor Robert Boute and research associate Tom Van Steendam who represent Vlerick Business School as a consortium partner, will do research on horizontal and vertical collaboration within logistics based on a set real-life pilot cases throughout Europe.

Robert Boute, Professor of Operations and Supply chain: “A 2009 World Economic Forum report indicates that almost a quarter of all goods transport in the EU is driving empty. When carrying a load, vehicles are typically loaded for only 57% of their maximum gross weight. With NexTrust, we aim for improved asset utilisation and logistics cost efficiency by creating a sustainable, competitive arena for European logistics. By creating ‘stickiness’ for collaboration in the marketplace, validated through over 20 large-scale pilot cases carried out in real market conditions that are characterised by market-driven research and innovation, we want to set an inspirational example for the market. The underlying foundation of the Consortium is the belief that horizontal and vertical collaboration should not be viewed only in the context of a theoretical or technological exercise, but when applied and validated pragmatically, can lead to a new level of business maturity and innovation strategy.”

NexTrust’s objective is to increase efficiency and sustainability in logistics by developing an innovative business model with interconnected, trusted, collaborative networks along the entire supply chain. These trusted networks, built horizontally and vertically, will fully integrate shippers, logistics services providers (LSP) and intermodal operators as equal partners. To reach a high level of sustainability, NexTrust will not only bundle freight volumes but shift them off the road to intermodal rail and waterways. NexTrust will build these trusted networks bottom up, with like-minded partners, adding multiple layers of transport flows that have been de-coupled and then re-connected more effectively along the supply chain.

NextTrust Introductory video from NexTrust on Vimeo.

C-ITS cloud based smart visibility software will be developed to support the re-engineering of the networks, improving real-time utilisation of transport assets. NexTrust will focus on research activities that create stickiness for collaboration in the market, validated through pilot cases in live conditions. The pilot cases cover a broad cross section of the entire supply chain (from raw materials to end consumers) for multiple industries.

  • The project engages a diverse group of major shippers and LSPs as partners managing freight volumes of well over 1,000,000 annual truck movements across Europe.
  • Partners also include SMEs with proven experience and a track record in supply chain and ICT innovation, and LSPs and intermodal operators who move more than 1,000,000 shipments, via rail, barge and road with their own multimodal assets.

The creation and validation of trusted collaborative networks will be market-oriented and implemented at an accelerated rate for high impact. NexTrust expects its pilot cases to reduce deliveries by 20% and with modal shift to reduce GHG emissions by 50%, load factors shall increase by 50% given the emphasis on back-load/modal shift initiatives. First results of the pilot cases are expected to be presented in 2016 and published on the project website.

The full consortium comprises: 2degrees, Arcese, Beiersdorf, BLUEWAVE, Borealis Group, Colruyt, CRITT Transport et logistique, Delhaize, ELUPEG, Fiege Logistik, Giventis International BV, GS1 Belgium, GS1 Germany, GS1 Switzerland, Kimberly Clark, Kneppelhout Korthals Lawyers, Mondelez, Norwegian Logistics AS, Panasonic Europe, Pastu Consult, Pinguin Foods, Tri-Vizor NV, TX Logistik (Co-ordinator), Unilever, Vlerick Business School, VU University Amsterdam, Wenzel logistics GmbH, Wolters Kluwer Transport Services, YSCO.

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