by Henk Zijm
In today’s global economies, logistics is a key facilitator of trade, and hence an important factor in rising prosperity and welfare. Natural resources are scarce and not evenly distributed in terms of type and geographical location in the world. Logistic chains enable the distribution of materials, food and products from the locations where they are extracted, harvested or produced to people’s homes and nearby stores. At the same time, current logistics systems are fundamentally unsustainable, due to the emission of hazardous materials (CO2, NOx, particulate matter), congestion, stench, noise and the high price that has to be paid in terms of infrastructural load. Things are even getting worse: while the European Commission has set (not achieved) targets to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GGE) in 2015 to 60 % as compared to 1990, the percentage of transport related GGE increased from 25 % in 1990 to 36 % today.