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ILNET Research Approach, Contents and Formats

ILNET focuses on multiple research fields regarding international logistics networks that are of importance in many regions of the world. To contribute to research in international logistics networks, ILNET follows a multi-directional approach with different practice-oriented formats that contribute to several research fields.

Content-wise, ILNET mainly focuses on research on dynamics and the achievements of robust international logistics networks, taking risk and volatility management into consideration. Additionally, we seek to contribute to the discussion on how to embrace digital technologies to more efficient international logistics networks. Among other technologies, ILNET thereby mainly focuses on supply chain automation technologies, blockchain solutions as well as natural language processing applications in logistics and supply chain management. Besides the management of dynamics and technologies in a global environment, behavioral and cultural management remains on of the core research fields of ILNET since the management of different cultures is crucial for successful international logistics networks but is often underestimated by practice. For example, instead of copying risk management approaches from on part of the world to another, companies need to adjust their strategies to the corresponding culture. Therefore, ILNET research seeks to contribute to this vital and much needed discussion on cultural and behavioral management in logistics and supply chain management.

To achieve practice-oriented research results, ILNET seeks to maintain a strong connection between research and practice. Therefore, ILNET established steady working groups of logistics and supply chain managers from the manufacturing and logistics service providers industry that meet regularly for workshops in Germany, China and Ethiopia to discuss most recent supply chain management trends and topics. Additionally, ILNET conducts on-site case studies directly at companies to utilize those case studies for teaching and training purpose to provide students with real-life problems and solutions. Moreover, those case studies are utilized for teaching purpose.

Although the above-mentioned research fields are of importance in many parts of the world, we focus our activities on two main focus regions, China and Ethiopia. This does not mean that our research is restricted to the specifics of those regions but it takes them into account more often.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is on the verge to develop from a low-income to a mid-income country within the next years. To maintain growth, Ethiopian government is doing a lot to attract foreign investors to locate manufacturing sites there. Thereby, efficient logistics is key to stable economic development. This being said our research seeks to contribute to more efficient logistics solutions in Ethiopia taking the special conditions into account. To accomplish that, ILNET focuses mostly on the Ethiopian food and textile industry and investigates research fields such as intermodal transport chains, industrial park developments as well as sustainable practices (e.g. reduction of food waste).

Ruanda

As Rwanda pursues becoming a zero-carbon economy by 2050, it faces many challenges providing mobility for inviduals and goods without causing additional traffic congestions and emissions, especially considering the increased demand for e-commerce solutions in the country. In this context, innovative logistics concepts play an essential role in the creation of mobility solutions and promoting the sustainable urban development of Rwanda. ILNET prusues the development of creative, innovative solutions for the mobility requirements of growing cities with infrastructural and topographical constraints, such as Kigali. Furthermore, ILNET investigates challenges and opportunities of the country´s strong mining industry with a special focus on sustainabaility.

China

Over the past decades, China developed as Europe’s most important partner in international trade and most European companies started doing business there and expanded their supply chain accordingly. Today, for most European companies China is one of the most important sourcing regions as well as the most important customer market. However, doing business in China is different and Western companies often struggle to adapt their logistics and supply chain management practices, such as risk and volatility management to the behavioral and cultural circumstances of the countries. However, ILNET research shows, that cultural differences can be utilized beneficial. Additionally, ILNET seeks to contribute to the discussion on the potentials and future development paths of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and how European-Chinese Logistics networks are changing due to this program.

ARCLoS – African Research Cluster on Logistics and Supply Chain

The “African Research Cluster on Logistics and Supply Chain” (ARCLoS) aims to strengthen the network of researchers from African countries in the fields of logistics and supply chain management. Based on a virtual, cross-country exchange of research methods, approaches and results, knowledge is to be disseminated, synergies identified and joint activities initiated. ARCLoS will start with virtual meetings every two months (approx. 90 min per meeting), where researchers of the ARCLoS network voluntarily present and discuss current results of their research in short keynote speeches followed by discussions. Through this regular exchange, a common understanding of the research areas and methodological approaches of the other researchers is created. In the mid- and long-term this can lead to joint research activities and projects.

Both, researchers from partner universities of the network of African universities supported by the Kuehne Foundation and also researchers from other African universities who are interested in a structured exchange are addressed. For more information on the ARCLoS network and the possibility to participate in the virtual discussions on a regular basis, please click here [1].

Registration for Workshop on African Continental Free Trade Area and the Role of Logistics

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) without a doubt is one of the most promising trade agreements worldwide. With current intra-African trade being at a comparatively low level of 14% of total African exports, the AfCFTA can help facilitating the ambitious goal of doubling this number by 2035. Even though the AfCFTA has theoretically been in force since January 1, 2021, there are still unresolved issues so that the full potential of the agreement cannot yet be realized. However, once it takes off, the AfCFTA offers countless opportunities to completely rethink intra-African and also international logistics networks. Thereby, the goal is not only to increase intra-African trade but also to integrate African countries into global creation systems with a greater share of value added, and this would result in sustainable economic growth and increased real wages. This workshop aims to identify current logistics challenges of the AfCFTA across industries and to systematically discuss which potentials arise for the redesign of international logistics networks for the respective industries. Based on this, we will develop logistics strategies to leverage the identified potential in the long term.

The workshop will be held as a joint action by TU Berlin, Chair of Logistics, University of Rwanda and GIZ. The workshop takes place on 7 September 2022 from 9:00 to 16:15 in Kigali, Rwanda. More information about the workshop agenda can be found here [2].

For registration please click here [3].

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