With continuous developments and breakthroughs in digital and other new technologies, the logistics industry is increasingly becoming “smart.” Smart logistics enables the further optimisation of logistics flows and overall freight efficiency. By employing the latest communication technologies and digital solutions, real-time data about the location of transport vehicles and transport containers or the place where goods are stored and distributed can be collected. Implemented trackers or (RFID-)tags can furthermore be used for identification, registration or booking of objects. Combined with real-time analytics to, for example, avoid congestion or create resource-efficient and optimised repackaging, smart logistics has the potential to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions or minimise waste.
For this study, commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Research Institute of Highway (RIOH) of the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China (MOT) and the German Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML) have carried out joint research on the theory, policy, and application of smart logistics to provide an overview of the status quo of smart logistics in China and Germany.
This study focusses on the smart logistics’ influence on sustainable and low carbon development, differences as well as similarities in the understanding and application of smart logistics in China and Germany. Based upon this research, a common understanding of smart logistics is proposed, and an analysis of key driving factors and future development trends of smart logistics applications in China and Germany is provided. Finally, recommendations for the further and effective development and implementation of smart logistics are put forward based on the findings of this study.