Toward a Physical Internet: meeting the global logistics sustainability grand challenge
First online: 12.02.2011
Cite this article as: Montreuil, B. Logist. Res. (2011) 3: 71. doi:10.1007/s12159-011-0045-x
This paper starts with the assertion that the way physical objects are currently transported, handled, stored, realized, supplied, and used throughout the world is unsustainable economically, environmentally, and socially. Evidence supporting this assertion is exposed through a set of key unsustainability symptoms. Then, the paper expresses the goal to revert this situation, thus meeting the global logistics sustainability grand challenge. It suggests exploiting the Digital Internet metaphor to develop a Physical Internet vision toward meeting this grand challenge. The paradigm breaking vision is introduced through a set of its key characteristics. The paper then proceeds with addressing the implications and requirements for implementing the Physical Internet vision as a means to meet the grand challenge. It concludes with a call for further research, innovation, and development to really shape and assess the vision and, much more important, to give it flesh through real initiatives and projects so as to really influence in a positive way the collective future. For this to happen, it emphasizes the requirement for multidisciplinary collaboration among and between academia, industry, and government across localities, countries, and continents.
Physical Internet Global logistics sustainability Grand challenge Logistics Mobility Transportation Material handling Supply chain Supply network Supply web Open supply web Greenhouse gas emission Intralogistics Facilities design Containers Modular containers Smart containers Packaging Universal interconnectivity Multimodal transport Distributed transport City logistics Open distribution Open production Product realization Product design Design-for-containerization Materializing Dematerializing Open performance monitoring Capability certification Network reliability Network resilience Logistics security Business model innovation Open logistics infrastructure