German logistics sector unites for digitising supply chains

2021/10/28 at 8:37 AM

Four major German logistics providers Dachser, DB Schenker, duisport and Rhenus have jointly incorporated a non-profit institution, named Open Logistics Foundation. The new entity will be a platform for promoting digitalisation and the standardisation of supply chains. More companies are planning to join and fund the initiative.

The Open Logistics Foundation was established last week, on 22 October, by four major players in the German logistics market: Dachser, DB Schenker, duisport and Rhenus. Its key purposes are to build a European open-source community, promote digitalisation of supply chains and develop new standards of logistical processes.

“We want to drive the digitalization of logistics forward together. That is why open source is an important success factor for the entire logistics industry and, at the same time, a driver for harmonised processes in digital supply chains. We consider the Open Logistics Foundation to be the first step towards a platform economy based on European legal standards and values,” the four companies announced in a joint statement.

State funding

The establishing of the Open Logistics Foundation, which will be based in Dortmund, was initiated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML) as a part of its Silicon Economy research project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) with 25 million euros. More than 150 researchers are working on an open-source software and hardware infrastructure that enables companies to process their business operations in an automated way and to offer and use services and data securely across different platforms beyond company boundaries.

Dachser, DB Schenker, duisport and Rhenus jointly incorporated the Open Logistics Foundation, source: Volvo Group

Besides the four founding members, numerous companies already announced their participation in the funding association, including AEB, BLG Logistics Group, GS1 Germany, Lobster Logistics Cloud and the Bochum-based Setlog Holding, but also associations such as the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Key focus

The key focus of the Open Logistics Foundation will be the open-source development of hardware and software for the logistics sector. To this end, the foundation will run the repository to store the new solutions. as open source under a free license (permissive license). All tools and components will be free of charge without restriction for commercial applications to promote broad acceptance within the logistics sector. Companies may use them, for example, to expand their platforms or to set up new products and business models faster.

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