Blog: Sustainable and future-proof supply chains
Innovative supply chains: the key to sustainable prosperity
It used to be quite simple: going from A to B the fastest, at the best price. But today’s successful supply chains are about more than that. There is an increasing pressure on resources and a focus on sustainable solution. The key to success? Innovative supply chains from the Netherlands.
The Netherlands has always been known as the ideal gateway for linear supply chains, from overseas production, European distribution from the Netherlands and finally consumption somewhere in Europe or beyond. In the circular economy, ‘waste’ is reused or upgraded and brought back into a supply chain, which results in reverse flows. Due to its central location, world-class infrastructure and knowledge and expertise around the design and control of supply chains, the Netherlands is also perfectly positioned to be the circular hot spot for Europe. We already collect, upgrade and export large volumes of electrical components, end-of-life data servers, reusable textiles, plastics and paper and anything else that once was waste but now has economical value.
Sharing info to reduce empty kilometers
Optimal use of resources will help reach sustainability goals and this goes beyond just natural resources. Being lean and green when we move products is equally important for a future-proof and effective European supply chain. This is not only accomplished by using greener transport modes, but also by using existing assets, like trucks, as efficiently as possible. Still, in Europe, 1 in 3 trucks drives empty, which is a great waste of capital and fuel. The solution? Sharing data. Companies like Quicargo and Uber Freight are examples of platforms where this efficiency leap can take place.
Blockchain makes for fast and easy supply chain
Blockchain technology is another game-changer in logistics. Taking it out of concept phase, Samsung SDS, Samsung’s logistics and IT division, announced a new pilot partnership with ABN Amro and Port of Rotterdam. It has built a single platform using blockchain technology for all parties involved in container transport from South Korea to the Samsung European Distribution Center in Tilburg, the Netherlands. The result? ‘Making it just as easy to transport, track and finance goods and services as it is to order a book online.’1
Other Dutch initiatives like synchromodality, where logistics companies choose a modality based on capacity, time window, lowest CO2 footprint and cost have already moved many containers from road to more economical and environmentally friendly modes of transport like rail and barge.
The inland shipping industry is already huge in the Netherlands and has two useful traits. It is one of the most sustainable and cost-effective ways to ship large volume at once and the capacity of the inland waterways is virtually unlimited. It has even become leaner and greener by an increasing number of ships going electric and using LNG. Inland shipping can be your key to create a more sustainable supply chain.
Looking for a future-proof, sustainable European supply chain? The Netherlands knows the way.
Stan de Caluwe
June 18th 2019