Lower Austria’s Logistics Day celebrated its 10th anniversary at the General Aviation Center at Schwechat Airport, Vienna, on 08 OCT 19. Its official motto was “Simply Rethink” and it was under this title, that speakers were invited to talk about the focus topics of Region, Capacities, Decarbonization, Digitalization, Real Estate, Sustainability, Transport, and Competencies.
The packed agenda featuring a total of 20 key speakers and a number of brief panel discussions, kicked off at 9.00 a.m. with an introduction by representatives of the three hosts: the Austrian Federal Logistics Association, the Austrian Chamber of Commerce for Lower Austria, and Airport Vienna. Over 240 participants filled the hall in the General Aviation Center which is located on the outskirts of the airport and offers lounges for private aircraft owners and VIP travelers. Amongst them, logistics service providers, forwarders, industry solution providers, end-customers, media, Vienna Port, and a number of Austrian military delegates.
How do you plan logistics when there are so many unknown variables?
The initial key capacity message from University professor, Dr. Michael Manitz, was that logistics are incredibly difficult to plan not only because of the seasonal dips and imbalanced routes, but also because it is nigh on impossible to know when customers require which product where and when. Transport capacity supply is much more volatile that customer demand, and that makes efficient cost-planning difficult too. He criticized that too many companies only ever look at actual costs, rather than overall capacity costs. Costs rise when there is a capacity bottleneck. Other speakers later on also underlined the importance of standardization where possible, in keeping costs and environmental effects down.
Delegates learned that Vienna and Lower Austria are working on a Sustainable Logistics 2030 project since 2017, looking at space usage, last mile deliveries, micro-hubs and combining services. The results are due to be presented this November and have a good chance of implementation, since not only the regions, industries and consultants are involved in the project, but also political representatives have worked with the project team. The focus – also of the logistics conference – was on the entire Supply Chain from start to finish. What can be done where to improve the carbon footprint, cost efficiency and where are innovative solutions already showing effect?
Cheers to the environment!
The beer quote in the title came from Michael Steiger from the Brewer’s Union Austria, during the Decarbonization talks. He talked about the Heineken group’s strong focus on “Dropping the ‘C’ – from barley to bar” as part of their “Brewing a Better World” sustainability strategy and illustrated activities in various breweries in Austria whereby heat generated by the production units is channeled into the district heating grid, thus providing heating for the neighboring villages. “Drink more beer to keep the heating running!”
Other improvements were looking to use electric lorries or even biogas or hydrogen-powered vehicles (as early as 2020). LKW Walter later talked about the company’s target to get as much of its road feeder network onto rails as possible, since CO² emissions can be reduced by 55% on rails as opposed to road (and even by 75% by ship).
Vienna Port presented its first CO² neutral terminal which opened in 2018, as well as generating a quarter of its required electricity through solar power. The Green Energy Lab discussed wind energy and photovoltaic energy projects, as well as solutions for electric car batteries once they are no longer suitable for the cars: “Second Life Batteries” are used to power stationary energy generators. On the other hand, blockchain grid implementation was mentioned as a possibility to avoid electricity grid overloads once or if all vehicles rely on electricity in future.
New processes expose new problems that require new solutions
Route efficiencies and environmentally friendly fire prevention methods (especially with the rising issues through lithium batteries, electric cars, or over-heating servers), along with more effective use of open spaces and real estate were also discussed. One key-note speaker pointed out the importance of a very detailed analysis of each and every process to really determine areas for improvement.
By the time the conference closed in the early evening, delegates had enjoyed ample networking time, good catering, and a guided bus-tour of the airport airside. It is good to see such a wide variety of solutions over the entire supply chain, making for a cleaner environment and, given the mix of speakers, there is a lot that companies can learn from each other. The conference success deserves a beer!
#cargoforwarderglobal #logistics #austria #bvl #wkonoe
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