SARIL – Sustainability And Resilience for Infrastructure and Logistics networks 

2024/01/26 at 11:15 AM

Marta Waldmann Łukasiewicz Poznań Institute for Technology

Pandemic, Huti attacks, climate risks. How do disruptions in supply chains affect the logistics industry? Is it possible to create supply chains that are disruption-proof and, on top of that, sustainable in terms of cost, carbon footprint or human resource use?

It is no secret that supply chains have been colliding with an exceptional intensity of disruption in recent years. Globally, we have already had to deal with a pandemic, the blocked Suez Canal, the impact of the war in Ukraine and, more recently, the Red Sea crisis. When, despite everything, shipments do manage to reach Europe, they can be hampered on their onward journey by strikes by carriers, port services, cyber attacks, as well as disruptions caused by climatic factors – forest fires or floods and landslides destroying infrastructure in Italy. 

So how do we deal with disruption and carry out transport tasks in crises? How do we do this while at the same time ensuring sustainable transport, as the European Union is pushing for? Economically, ecologically and efficiently. Is this possible?

These are the questions that the partners in the SARIL project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe programme, intend to answer. The work started in June 2023 and over the next three years, partners from Poland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain and Portugal will conduct research, conclude and create tools to support logistics processes in the planning of operational processes and the management of transport infrastructure. In Poland, the project is led by Łukasiewicz -PIT in cooperation with CSL sp zoo. 

Towards green and resilient transport

The SARIL project is investigating the impact of crises and the resulting disruptions on the functioning of the various actors in logistics networks. Due to the large number of potential disruptions, 3 separate scenarios are being implemented. These range from a global scenario, focusing on disruptions affecting container flows from Asia to Europe, to a national scenario dealing with fires in Spain and Portugal, to regional disruptions such as local cyber attacks and the management of transport infrastructure exposed to flood risks in Italy. Within these scenarios, research and interviews are conducted with real market players – transport infrastructure managers, shippers, carriers, and rail operators – to accurately identify the problems that companies have faced in recent years and which have affected the operation and running of their operational processes. 

Extremely important and valuable from a project point of view are the conclusions that the users surveyed drew from the incidents. How they responded to the disruption, whether they used alternative means, and routes of transport, and what was the most important factor they tried to protect themselves from when dealing with the disruption. Have they learned lessons for the future and are these models of action that can be used when the next disruption occurs? Or will they act ad hoc? The data obtained from the surveyed stakeholders will realistically influence what solutions will be designed in the SARIL project and what lessons will be further presented to the European Commission.  

Research in the project

The SARIL project is based on direct research with market participants. In the first phase, individual interviews were conducted, during which a number of discussions were held with market representatives within each scenario. The interviewees were asked about the most important disruptions that affected the companies’ trasnport operations, their ways of coping with the effects of these disruptions, their conclusions and their concerns for the future.

A two-stage Delphi survey is currently being conducted via an online questionnaire. Everyone is welcome to take part in the survey, which we continue to encourage. The project partners have funded gift cards, which will be distributed by lottery to participants in the two rounds of the survey.

Link to the survey: https://app2.welphi.com/Pages/LoginPage.aspx?rp=http%3a%2f%2fapp2.welphi.com%2fPages%2fRedirectPage.aspx%3fp%3d12121%26r%3d18505%26o%3d1%26cmt%3d1%26eye%3d1%26gotoLvp%3d1%26ul%3d1

Technological solutions

The interviews are the most essential, but still the basis of the project, on which the subsequent activities of the partners are based. The project’s premise is to create tools that support logisticians in dealing with surprising events. The technology partners are developing solutions for dynamic simulations, predicting disruptions based on external data, and developing flow vulnerability models. 

Technologists from Łukasiewicz -PIT and Fraunhofer, meanwhile, will develop a digital twin model for global transport networks. This tool is expected to allow dynamic verification of transport networks and respond to disruptions using the synchromodality factor – the use of different modes of transport to ensure optimal order fulfilment. The digital twin is mainly intended to assist logisticians in planning and reorganising transport routes. Another important aspect is the inclusion of sustainable transport elements, hence the planned solutions are intended to use low-emission modes of transport, such as rail.

The results of the project, the research carried out, the workshops and the tools created, will allow recommendations to be developed. At an operational level, these will be recommendations for the actors in the supply chains, but also for the administrations and management entities. The main problems faced by logistics networks in the event of disruptions will be identified. Solutions for decision support and handling disruptions will be presented, based on the experiences of actors in the industry. This will be supported by proposals for new business models and technological solutions to support these solutions. 

Participation is open to those in the logistics industry whether it is to take part in a survey, an online survey or a face-to-face survey. You are also welcome to participate in an advisory role as a member of the Advisory Board. You can find out more about the project on the SARIL website, the ALICE platform or on the LinkedIn profile of the Saril project. 

Li SARIL: https://www.linkedin.com/company/saril-project/?viewAsMember=true

www: https://saril-project.eu/

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