Over the past years, ILNET strongly focused on research on robustness in international logistics research and thereby supported practice in managing disruption risks and supply chain volatility (focus industries: automotive, consumer goods, electronics, and logistics service providers). Additionally contributions in the field of behavioral and cultural management, concepts for improving logistics performance, digitalization strategies as well as training and further education concepts have been made.
Furthermore, ILNET increasingly focusses its research on the utilization of digital technologies in logistics networks with special regards to supply chain automation, blockchain technology and natural language processing as well as the interrelation with sustainability aspects.
In 2019, ILNET decided to broaden the research spectrum for the next funding period (2019-2022) with regards to the focus region and research topics. From there on, ILNET will investigate logistics challenges and strategies in Sub-Saharan-Africa (SSA), taking Ethiopia and Rwanda as an example (but not restricting it to these countries).
Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is often seen one of the good practice countries in SSA regarding industry development as it is on the verge to develop from a low-income to a mid-income country within the next years. To maintain growth, Ethiopian government is doing a lot to attract foreign investors to locate manufacturing sites there. Thereby, efficient logistics is key to stable economic development. Nevertheless, Ethiopia and Rwanda still have a lot of improvement potential when it comes to logistics performance, making research on logistics in these regions necessary, taking the specifics of the region and core industries into account. Since the current importance of the food and textile industry in Ethiopia, they will become target industries as well as the automotive industries since this industry could become more important for Ethiopia in the next years.
Rwanda’s predominant industries are also related to food and furthermore include mining as the country is rich in essential minerals, which contribute up to 15% to the country´s exports. ILNET contributes by investigating research fields such as intermodal transport chains, industrial park developments as well as sustainable practices (e.g. reduction of food waste).
Even though ILNET supports research on various topics of international logistics, independent of the region, the focus in previous years has been on the investigation of German-Chinese logistics networks. Since this trade relationship has an important contribution to global logistics networks, it was an important cornerstone of the ILNET development to focus on this relationship. Especially the differences between Western and Chinese culture often required a re-thinking regarding traditional logistics concepts.