The Netherlands: Innovator in
Logistics & Transportation Safety
Inbound Logistics national magazine / Jan. 2015
By Lisa A. Bastian
Inbound Logistics recently participated in an international media tour of The Netherlands, home to Europe's highest concentration of logistics service providers. Here's a look at how this nation's rich IT assets are advancing global research and applied applications in the logistics sector.
Driverless trucks. TNO, the government's applied research institute, is a partner in the new private-public "automated driving" program. The first phase will allow hundreds of self-driving trucks to zoom around Rotterdam, Europe's busiest commercial port, and on key highways linking to the port.
Once safety kinks are worked out, Dutch leaders expect driverless cars will be a reality sooner rather than later. TNO is also intently studying how 3D printing—the "third industrial revolution"—will fundamentally change the future of manufacturing, transport, and logistics practices worldwide.
Cybersecurity cluster. Thwarting cybercrime is a major operational activity in all industries, including logistics and transportation. The uber-wired Netherlands, known as the "digital and secure gateway to Europe," is a leader in cybersecurity.
A prized asset is the Hague Security Delta (HSD), the continent's largest security cluster. More than 400 security firms, employing 13,000 people, work with government and research entities to develop radically new cybersecurity, big data, and related tech projects.
Exciting developments are expected from the HSD Campus, a new national security innovation center that opened February 2014 in The Hague.
Logistics safety. The STC-Group, an international educational institute for navigation, transportation, and port-related industries, serves more than 10,000 degree-seeking students and private-company employees annually through its schools and training facilities. The organization operates centers scattered around The Netherlands, and has branches on other continents.
STC created the world's largest "park" of simulators. These technological marvels improve real-life performance and safety metrics by bringing education and training modules to life.
The firm is also known for its advanced crane simulators, which use realistic visuals, movements, and sounds to teach all aspects of handling and storing cargo. STC's two Transport Chain simulators, with linked workstations and sophisticated proprietary software, show how disparate logistics roles must work together to move cargo quickly and efficiently.
Maritime safety research. Funded by 110 million euros, COMMIT/ is a six-year national public-private IT research initiative created to solve scientific and societal problems. One project in development is an automatic risk assessment system designed to increase the security of large maritime areas.
The artificial intelligence-driven program will help law enforcement and military personnel find criminal or terrorist vessels easily, and predict the intent of any suspicious maritime activities.
With all this activity, the Netherlands continues to hold its enviable position as an innovator in worldwide logistics services.