thinkport VIENNA: Think Tank and Mobility Lab for Smart Urban Logistics. An initiative by the Port of Vienna and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
The Port of Vienna, as a central logistic hub, and the Vienna University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences engage in a partnership to initiate the so-called ‘thinkport VIENNA’. The aim of this ‘think tank & mobility lab’ initiative is to develop practical and socially acceptable solutions for a resource- and environment-friendly urban logistics system in conjunction with partners, bundle these solutions, make them workable and test them in daily practice.
Developing, bundling, testing and implementing ideas, concepts and projects in practice
The thinkport VIENNA is a think tank, innovation factory and open mobility lab that comprehensively and sustainably deals with the logistic challenges in metropolitan areas. The initiative intends to be a catalyst, incubator and disseminator of new technologies, processes, services and knowledge in order to foster innovations in cargo logistics.
The vast premises of the Port of Vienna serve as a real-life environment for testing. Together with research, business and city administration partners, methods, innovative concepts, processes and technologies are developed and evaluated before they are pilot-tested at the Port of Vienna and in the city area.
Five mobility labs are currently under construction in Austria. The mobility lab in Vienna is the only one with an exclusive focus on cargo transport and logistics. The “thinkport VIENNA” initiative is funded by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit) through a research promotion programme (“mobility of the future”).
Transport, cargo handling, storage, delivery: Short distances protect the environment and save resources
In practice, this involves the future-oriented, integrated and smart planning and development of sustainable transport infrastructure and the installation of smart transshipment nodes with a particular focus on the “last mile”. Transport, handling, storage and delivery – over short distances and in a space- and resource-saving manner. This is one of the key issues on which many potential pilot projects are focused. In the age of digitalisation and decarbonisation (with a trend towards green energy fuels), new technologies often also play a decisive role.
Potential projects range from logistic systems for organic foods and their “green” delivery to city dwellers via a computer-assisted warehouse logistics system to tests with automotive trucks on the port premises. These projects are complemented by public awareness initiatives that seek to explain the practical challenges of a logistic system, ranging from the online order of a product to its delivery to the recipient’s postal address. Moreover, the Port of Vienna shall also position itself as a hub for start-up companies in the logistics sector.
Economy, science, technology and city administration: Open platform for all logistics-oriented partners
thinkport VIENNA views itself as an open and broad platform for companies and organisations with an interest in innovations in the sustainable urban logistics sector. These include transport and logistics companies as well as companies that rely on a properly functioning logistic system, ranging from large merchandise groups to small craftsman’s businesses. Key target groups include start-up companies (innovation drivers) and the city administration with its logistics-oriented organisational units.
The following national and international companies have meanwhile become letter-of-intent partners of thinkport VIENNA: Heavy Pedals (Lastenradtransport und -verkauf OG), Effizienzcluster Management GmbH-Mülheim an der Ruhr (Germany), G. Zoubek-Vertriebs-KG (Adamah), iMinds Living Labs of Ghent University (Belgium), NetPort Science Park AB (Karlshamn, Sweden), Scania Österreich Ges.m.b.H., City of Vienna, Executive Group for Construction and Technology, StoreMe GmbH (Austria), Sustain SA, Australian Living Labs Innovation Network (Australia), WIENER LINIEN GmbH & Co KG, Vienna Economic Chamber (Transport and Communications).
Pilot project: “24-hour parcel pickup zone” next door
We all know this problem: We have ordered a product online. When the product is delivered, there is no one at home to accept it. Decoupling parcel delivery from parcel acceptance is a logistic challenge. Parcels that cannot be delivered add to the transport burden and complicate things for recipients and senders alike.
“24-hour parcel pickup zones” provide a sound and pre-evaluated solution. These are rooms with parcel lockers of different sizes where the delivery service can drop off a parcel and the customer can pick it up at any time. Such zones are open for all sorts of parcels and can be used by all delivery services. When customers order a product, they specify the parcel pickup zone that best suits them. The access code for the pickup zone and the locker code are sent via SMS or email. A drop-off station for mailing parcels shall also be included in each parcel pickup zone.
Parcel pickup zones may be installed in empty business locations or directly at a residential unit. Business partnerships with mailing partners, cafés, shopping services, laundry services etc. would also be an option. A tight service network is important as the parcel pickup zones should be easy to reach and not too far away, so customers can pick up their parcels on their way to/from work or while during their daily errands.
A pilot project is currently in the conceptual phase. StoreMe, a long-standing business partner of the Port of Vienna, has already been retained to develop a user-friendly web-based application and mobile app. The young start-up firm operates an online service and helps private individuals and companies to find rentable storage units. StoreMe has also been helped to rent out free storage space at the deep-freeze warehouse of the Port of Vienna to an ice-cream factory.
Pilot project: “Logistics rodeo” raises awareness
Products can be ordered online and delivered to the customers in next to no time – often within 24 hours. But what are the underlying logistic steps and challenges? How do logistic systems impact our environment and our urban eco-systems and how can they be optimised?
The “Logistics Rodeo” (© Adamah) takes passengers on a bus ride through the city where they get a “live” experience of urban logistics. The specially adapted bus has a passenger compartment in its front section and a cargo compartment at its back. A tour guide informs the passengers about the city’s logistic system, how cargo volumes are moved, and what the future of urban logistics may look like. Passengers see first-hand how goods are delivered and learn about the daily routines, tasks and challenges of a logistics operation, from food delivery to parcel drop-off services. During the tour, people are introduced to new technologies and invited to give their feedback or make suggestions. This pilot project is also in the conceptual phase.
Director of Marketing & Communications, Port of Vienna
Phone: +43 (0)1 72716-654
Mobile: +43 (0)664 455 76 86
Website: Hafen Wien
This post is also available in: German