According to this principle, logistic processes and networks are bundled, allowing goods to be transported in an optimal way.

The Physical Internet is an idea to organize transport according to the principles of the digital Internet: instead of a fragmented landscape in which each transport company goes its separate way, a bundled network is created to transport all goods as quickly and efficiently as possible. "In the same way that an email uses the full network capacity to go from sender to receiver, goods should use the full capacity of the infrastructure," says Tomas Ambra, Research Director for Logistics at imec EDiT.

The end result is an integrated solution where all modes of transport can be deployed in combination. "The PI opens the door to numerous new logistics business models in which an umbrella IT system shows logistics service providers opportunities in terms of collaboration, and the more efficient use of available personnel, assets and transport capacity. As a result, it will make a significant contribution to reducing logistics costs, making the logistics sector more sustainable and increasing service levels", says Liesbeth Geysels, General Director of VIL.

Within the PILL (Physical Internet Living Lab) project, VIL, imec and VUB Mobi are now going to work with more than twenty partners from the logistics sector on PI in the ports. In Antwerp and Zeebrugge an IT prototype will be tested to unify the processes of the many companies in and around the ports.

Initially, PILL will be limited to the port ecosystems. From 2023 onwards, the initiators want to roll out the concept further in Flanders, Europe and eventually the whole world.

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