“Will Christmas have to be postponed this year? Chamber of Commerce director Carlo Thelen asked this question during his opening speech at the Cluster for Logistics (C4L) press conference "Logistics 2021 Post-Covid reloaded" on Thursday 11 November. A question to which he himself replied: “No, Christmas will not be postponed this year!” Even if shortages multiply, "existing stocks will be available to meet part of the demand", estimates Thelen. He adds: "For the future, the sector needs politicians to provide frameworks with simplified procedures and realistic subsidies for successful transformation.
A transformation that is necessary to face several challenges, some of which are new and some of which will recur once the slump in activity at the beginning of the crisis has passed. "In 2020 and for the past six months, the public has become aware of the crucial importance of well-organised logistics," recalls Thelen. The 90-member association had already listed several topics in its assessment last May.
One of these is the greening of logistics, a subject that is now back on the table. The challenge will be to find “ecological trucks and vans” to comply with the National Energy and Climate Plan. As a reminder, the latter sets a 48% reduction in CO2 emissions from transport by 2030.
Ecocombis and training
Another major issue is the optimisation of last-mile delivery, which is so costly for transporters and the environment. The C4L advises moving towards more "flexibility, precision and speed". It also reiterates its proposal for eco-combis. These are trucks that go beyond the usual limit of about ten metres in length and reach up to 25 metres. They are used or tested in some countries, such as the Netherlands and Belgium, but not in the Grand Duchy. Representatives of the sector would like them to be authorised, in order to save money and energy and to deal with the shortage of drivers. This is another problem that the grouping is raising again. The situation could be improved by "training logistics experts". "Ninety percent of our drivers live abroad," adds Thelen. "Companies tell us that it now takes 9 months to register them for their compulsory one-month training.”
C4L also looks at the challenges ahead in the area of digitalisation, citing process optimisation with TMS (Transportation Management System) platforms.
"The challenge for the transport industry is to become greener and more digital, while remaining competitive with its neighbours," summarises Thelen.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.