North America (Change)

A consortium of 36 partners across the supply chain has launched a project to future-proof logistics chains, under the coordination of the Port of Antwerp.

The organisations are looking to enable the seamless transport of goods, focusing especially on the technological and operational opportunities that the Physical Internet, synchro-modal operations and other disruptive technologies such as Hyperloop, Industry 4.0 and autonomous vehicles provide.

The ePlcenter project, which is funded by the EU’s European Horizon 2020 programme and has a timeframe of 42 months, features partners representing leading ports, forwarders, cargo owners, logistics providers, knowledge institutes and technology firms.

A number of a large scale demonstrators are on main shipping routes from Europe to Canada and the US, as well as new trade routes such as the Northern Sea Route and the new Silk Road routes, giving the project a global scope.

Technology innovators and environmental experts will collaborate to develop new solutions which increase the efficiency and sustainability of global supply chains.

Erwin Verstraelen, chief digital and innovation officer, Port of Antwerp, stated: “We are very enthusiastic about kicking off the ePIcenter project, which will allow us to create a transcontinental, integrated and transparant freight corridor by leveraging existing and promising technologies, frameworks and data standards.

“Port of Antwerp and Port of Montreal, both important nodes in the global supply chain, will act as catalyst for symbiosis amongst the different stakeholders.”

The Belgian hub will host a “Link to the Future” demonstrator, focusing on implementing the project’s innovations as well as realising the “first transcontinental cyber secure trade lane”.

The port will also try to use its international network to create possibilities for worldwide knowledge sharing and further improvement of the tools developed in the project.

Annick De Ridder, vice mayor of the Port of Antwerp, stated: “The future of our port and its prosperity goes hand in hand with the power of innovation. We are proud to play a pioneering role and to serve as a laboratory for innovation.

“Today more than ever it is important to make our global supply chain more resilient to an evolving and volatile world with a variety of challenges.”

EU-funded consortium launches project to future-proof logistics chains, June 16, 2020,