Data Sharing for Greener Transport in Sustainable Supply Chains

The self-organized ecosystem of multi-modal transport leads to unnecessary GHG emissions

Figure 1: The self-organized transport ecosystem is composed by multiple transport modes and transport nodes operated by multiple parties across the globe

Jun 3, 2021 12:44 AM by

Mikael Lind et al.

[By Mikael Lind, Jaime Luezas Alvarado, Henk Mulder, Lasse Nykänen and Guido Piccoli]

It has been assessed that the transport sector contributes over one sixth of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) globally [1]. End-to-end supply chains usually involve multiple modes of transport and the cargoes carried are passing through different transport nodes. Transport is to a large extent operated within a self-organized ecosystem[2] (a network of innumerable operators that are impossible to hierarchically govern / steer) which requires coordination and synchronization between actors and modes of transport to be efficient and sustainable. Historically, such coordination and synchronisation has been challenging due to each involved actor having limited knowledge on upstream progress and disruptions. This has caused the supply chain industry to follow sub-optimized solutions jeopardizing overall energy efficiency and thus not deliver the potential of greener transport. Supply chain operators need to be able to expand their knowledge about the progress of shipments and possible disruptions to transport so that they can take timely actions as required. Decisions which tend to focus on optimizing the capital productivity of single organisations in the supply chain result in less energy efficiency for the whole or parts of the supply chain.[3]

Federated agreements on data sharing are needed for greener transport

To achieve energy efficiency throughout the supply chain, it is essential that each involved actor is able to make informed decisions on the energy being used for acquiring, utilizing, and operating the infrastructure in the co-delivery of transport services along the multi-modal chain.

Green transport in multi-modal chains requires that the involved actors synchronize their actions in relation to each other. While some digitalised transport operators may already part of a local information sharing community, that alone is not enough. Common situational awareness across different nodes and modes of transport is also required and will only succeed if digital data sharing allows for exchanging data between those environments.[4] For that purpose, agreements on which data, and when and how to share data between the data sharing environments that the actors are part of becomes a necessity. Due to the self-organized characteristics of the supply chain industry, such decisions need to be made in a federated governance structure. In this way connectivity between involved actors would then be no further away than the click of button.

Figure 2: Digital data sharing agreements for platform inter-operability by federated governance

Digital data sharing for green conversion – some areas of application

A reduction of the carbon footprint in the transport sector will be enabled by the optimal use of physical infrastructure, wise use of sustainable energy sources, and synchronization of activities between the different actors. Some examples of areas of application where a difference can be made are covered below. At the core for such efforts is digital data sharing and digital collaboration that enables enhanced quality in decision-making, making it possible to conduct…

Read More: Data Sharing for Greener Transport in Sustainable Supply Chains

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