Over the past years, ILNET strongly focused on research on robustness in international logistics 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, natural language processing, as well as their interrelation with sustainability aspects.
ILNET investigates logistics challenges and strategies in Sub-Sahara-Africa (SSA), taking Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Ghana as an example (but not restricting it to these countries).
Ethiopia is often seen as one of the good practice countries in SSA regarding industry development due to the government’s efforts to shift from a low-income to a mid-income country within the next years. To maintain growth, the Ethiopian government has focused on promoting the relocation of international manufacturing firms to industrial parks in the country. For Ethiopia to further flourish in terms of sustainable development, it needs to create a stable and efficient logistics sector that caters to its needs and particular challenges.
As Rwanda prepares to see its population triple in the next decades, the country faces its own individual challenges to realize economic growth while preserving the environment and offering its citizens better living standards. Currently, the transport sector contributes to 50% of CO2 emissions of Kigali and the number of passenger and freight vehicles is rising. The situation is even exacerbating by a rising demand for e-commerce which can lead to additional last-mile traffic. Considering this, innovative logistics and mobility solutions must be developed to achieve the government’s goal of Rwanda becoming a zero-carbon economy by 2050. 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).
Ghana is a very attractive country for investors given their political stability, their economic liberalism, and abundant natural resources. While Ghana still relies heavily on the export of raw materials such as gold, petroleum, and cocoa; the government has focused on transforming the country into an industry- and services-based economy, adding a higher importance to the development of the industrial sector in the country. Logistics play a key role on supporting the sustainable development of the country.
While these countries are beacons of progress in the SSA region, they still have an ample improvement potential when it comes to logistics performance, making research on logistics in these regions necessary, specially to understand and properly respond to their distinct requirements, challenges, and opportunities. For this reason, ILNET is pursuing this area of research by focusing on the food, textile, and automotive industries in SSA while promoting the implementation of sustainable practices.
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.