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Logistics 2030 Innovation Programme
Logistics 2030 Innovation Programme

Source: Montage MedienMélange / iStock/monsitj

In keeping with the commitment made in the Coalition Agreement for the 19th Parliamentary Term, the Federal Ministry of Transport und Digital Infrastructure joined forces with representatives from the logistics, environmental and digital sectors plus the research community to develop the Logistics 2030 Innovation Programme, which was presented to the public on 4 September 2019 by Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer, together with his Parliamentary State Secretary Steffen Bilger, who is also the Federal Government Coordinator for Freight Transport and Logistics.

The Innovation Programme is designed to strengthen and expand Germany's position as a global leader in the logistics sector. In a comprehensive process, headed by Steffen Bilger, visions for the logistics sector in 2030 were developed for ten strategic fields of action. Building on these, the programme describes specific measures relating to innovation, modernization and digital transformation that are designed to future-proof the freight transport and logistics sector, which is of fundamental importance for German competitiveness in the global economy.

The rapid technological and, in particular, digital developments make it necessary to submit the Innovation programme to permanent review. Changes, and new needs based on them, must be taken into account. For this reason, the Innovation Programme has been designed as a “work in progress”, which has to be reviewed at regular intervals to check whether it is still up to date or needs renewing. To ensure this, an Innovation Commission, chaired by Steffen Bilger, will be launched comprising innovatively thinking representatives from industry and the research community.

Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer

The logistics sector is booming – across the world, and especially in Germany. But we cannot afford to rest on the laurels of our success. The logistics sector currently faces major challenges, for instance the common task of making it possible to transport more goods and ensure mobility while reducing the volume of traffic. We want to progress intelligent infrastructure, create even more efficient connectivity between the individual modes of transport, shift even more goods from the roads to the railways – and also at the same time reduce emissions from freight transport. In addition, it is imperative that we evolve the occupations. It will not be possible to participate in the increasingly globalized economy and safeguard jobs or create new ones unless logistical processes continue to be well managed using the most modern technologies.

Steffen Bilger, Parliamentary State Secretary and Federal Government Coordinator for Freight Transport and Logistics:

The digital transformation of the freight transport and logistics sector is in full swing. With the Innovation Programme, we are focusing on the future. Many experts from various fields of industry and academia contributed to and were involved in this process. I would like to thank all the parties involved for their dedication, the constructive discussions and the contributions that helped us flesh out the innovation programme in its current shape. This Innovation Programme is a work in progress that is designed to provide us with guidance for the future of freight transport and logistics. I want recent developments to inform this Innovation Programme. Thus, I will appoint an Innovation Commission, to be chaired by me, in which I want to join forces with experts from industry and academia to evolve the Innovation Programme.

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has thus delivered a further mandate from the Coalition Agreement. The 10 thematic areas in the programme set out objectives and implementation steps for future-proofing Germany as a centre for logistics.

1. Digital infrastructure, data processing and platform solutions
Measures include:

  • Creating future-proof and flexibly scalable data exchange infrastructure via which innovative new ranges of information in the fields of mobility and logistics can be simply supplied with the ranges of data on offer.
  • Financial assistance is to be provided to the deployment of artificial intelligence within the scope of research and development programmes commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

2. Digital transport management across all modes of transport – digital supply chain
Measures include:

  • Creating suitable data interfaces to enable communication and – in conformity with data protection legislation – the exchange of information between public authorities and businesses in electronic form.
  • Funding neutral platforms and blockchain solutions that enable transparent and secure flows of information over a global supply chain.

3. The world of work of the future
Measures include:

  • Ensuring recruitment by systematically implementing the measures set out in the Rail Freight and Inland Waterway Transport Masterplans.
  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will lobby for the evolution of the financial assistance programme for continuing professional development in road haulage companies that operate heavy goods vehicles, focusing on digital tools and information technology.

4. Climate change mitigation through innovative freight transport
Measures include:

  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will widen and sustain the support measures for alternative drivetrains and fuels in the transport sector.
  • The financial assistance programme for energy efficient and/or low carbon goods vehicles will be sustained and, if necessary, receive an additional injection of funds. The shape of the tolling system is to create significant incentives for the purchase of environmentally friendly and low-emission goods vehicles. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will thus lobby at EU level for an HGV tolling system based on CO2 emissions.

5. The connected world of freight transport
Measures include:

  • Constructing/upgrading a sufficient number of CT terminals to ensure that the growth in CT forecast for the period to 2030 can be managed. Deploying digital technology at CT terminals and increasingly automating their operation in order to perform cargo handling as quickly as possible and reduce the time spent by all conveyances at the terminals.
  • Constructing/upgrading multimodal access points to the railways at places close to customers and in the immediate vicinity of transport hubs.

6. Smart railways, intelligent trains
Measures include:

  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will provide active support to innovations in rail freight. Important measures to achieve this include the digital transformation and automation of train marshalling, the Europe-wide introduction of a digital automated coupling and the Second Innovative Freight Wagon project, in which, among other things, problem-solving approaches for the safe, accurate and highly available positioning of single wagons will be developed.
  • A test bed for the digital transformation and automation of the marshalling of freight trains is to be established.
  • The intelligent freight train project is to build on findings delivered by the Innovative Freight Wagon project and, alongside the modular design of future freight wagons, is also to create the technological and legal conditions for the digital transformation and automation of rail freight.

7. Smart ports and waterways
Measures include:

  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will develop new funding guidelines for innovative port technologies (Ihatec II) and funding guidelines for, among other things, digital test beds and environmentally friendly inland waterway vessel propulsion systems and have measures relating to Logistics 4.0 trialled in real world conditions.
  • The industry will conduct feasibility studies and operational tests of new freight transport systems such as hyperloop and heavy lift drones.

8. Innovative air cargo
Measures include:

  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will consider the establishment of an aviation digital test bed, modelled on the “Seaport of Hamburg” digital test bed. In this way, parties involved in the air cargo logistics chain are to be given an opportunity to extensively test new and innovative approaches in a real-world setting.
  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will develop an “Action Plan for Unmanned Aerial Systems and Innovative Aviation Strategies” to make possible the deployment of automated and remotely piloted UAS.
  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will join forces with the stakeholders to create without delay the conditions for application of the new EU Drone Regulations, which will establish a flexible regulatory framework for operation of most unmanned aerial systems. The approval procedure for commercial drone flights in Germany will be harmonized and accelerated.

9. The road of the future
Measures include:

  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will update the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Action Plan for the Roads and develop initial Intelligent Transport Services on federal motorways.
  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will ensure connectivity between meteorological analyses, model forecasts and data on traffic disruption and logistics planning with the help of artificial intelligence.
  • As of 2022, telematics-based HGV parking guidance systems at selected parking areas on federal motorways are to be progressively equipped with Intelligent Transport Systems technology.

10. Solutions for the last mile
Measures include:

  • New funding guidelines issued by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure on urban logistics will assist municipalities and districts in developing logistics strategies, feasibility studies and specific stand-alone projects in the sphere of urban logistics, such as microhubs, which will also involve the deployment of cargo cycles for deliveries. With these guidelines, we will also support the use of alternative vehicles such as cargo bikes for the last mile.
  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will examine how the railways and inland waterways can be involved to a greater extent and support new logistics options, such as night-time deliveries to shops or the movement of goods from the suburbs to the city centre through tubes.
  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will support the evaluation of pilot projects, to be approved at the local level, on the use of tele-operated delivery robots on public roads. On the basis of the findings, it will then progress the creation of the regulatory framework for regular operation.
  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will lobby to ensure that spatial planning and land use planning tools are adapted to cater for the needs of the last mile.
  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will lobby to ensure that the federal states and local authorities implement innovative pilot schemes, for instance for the use of local public transport, night-time logistics or underground pipes for the movement of goods.