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LC | Sustainable City Logistics

LC sustainable city logistics

The population in cities is growing rapidly, while freight flows into and out of the city are increasingly fragmented due to the rise of convenience type stores and e-commerce. In the past decade, much research effort has been put in trying to develop methods to coordinate the bundling freight flows into and out of the city. However, due to the huge amount of freight and the inherent uncertainty of both demand and available transportation means, such coordination has not led to the advantages hoped for.

A new logistics concept, called the Physical Internet (PI), takes a different approach: through standardisation of shipping boxes and intelligent IT solutions, freight can, to a certain extent, self-organise its transportation. PI shows great promise for improving the efficiency and efficacy of transportation. Up until now, research in PI has been mainly based on simulations, but the recent availability of Internet of Things networks makes actual implementation possible.

This Learning Community is part of a three-year research project that involves the university, local government, and industry, in which we aim to implement the PI for city logistics in a pilot, thereby contributing to both PI research and several regional challenges and initiatives.

The focus on city logistics, a highly societal relevant challenge, and the application of the novel concept of the Physical Internet makes this an excellent opportunity for involvement of students from various bachelor and master programs, such as business administration, supply chain management, technology and operations management, operations research, industrial engineering, innovation, governance, IT, and law. Furthermore, the involvement of a variety of regional stakeholders enables multidisciplinary projects in practice.

For: FEB students from all programmes and levels
Lecturers involved: Dr. W. van Wezel, Dr. ir. P. Buijs
External businesses involved: County of Drenthe, City of Groningen, Goederenhubs groep Nederland / Binnenstadservice, Logistics service providers, Flora Holland

Main benefits

Learning outcomes:

  • Learn about the complex logistics operations involved in city logistics.
  • Learn how to identify specific challenges associated city logistics and propose solutions for those challenges.
  • Get familiar with the new logistics concept of Physical Internet

Skills covered :

  • Interviewing as well as qualitative and quantitative data analyses
  • Technical skills such as prototype software development, simulation, and hardware design
  • Presenting and reporting to government and industry stakeholders
  • Collaboration in multidisciplinary teams of students and staff with different backgrounds and skill levels
  • Anchoring hands-on problem solving in scientific research
  • Project and stakeholder management


Application will open soon. Keep an eye on the student portal for more information! In case you have any questions, feel free to contact Marjan van Ittersum:

Last modified:24 May 2018 2.50 p.m.