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sustainable logistics


Logistics is the integrated management of all activities required to move products through the supply chain. The main objective is to coordinate these activities in a way that meets customer requirements at minimum cost. This cost usually includes all costs made by logistics service providers for transport, warehousing, inventory carrying, administration and order processing. The significant externalities to society generated by their services such as climate change, air pollution, noise congestion and accidents are not reflected in this cost. More and more companies and policymakers also consider the external costs of logistics in their decisions.

We have extensive expertise in evaluating the sustainability of logistics systems and in examining ways of reducing externalities in logistics. Our main experience in this field covers research on intermodal transport, city logistics and sustainability impact assessment.

Synchromodal transport

Academics and policymakers put intermodal transport forward as a major alternative to road transport. For the main haul of transport rail-, inland waterway- or short sea transport can replace road transport. Through a combination of different transport modes in a single transport chain, we can reduce road transport to pre- and post-haulage. In most cases, this results in more sustainable transport chains. Synchromodal transport goes a step further by taking into account flexible and dynamic modal choices based on infrastructural developments and order requirements.

SYMBIT photo 1

DISpATch logo
MOBI is coordinating the DISpATch project which focuses on organizational and technical enablers for seamless synchromodal transport services in Flanders.


MOBI helps all concerned decision-makers in showing the consequences of a modal shift towards synchromodal transport. In this light, our team developed the transport models: Transport Agent-Based Model and SYMBIT. Other techniques we apply include Conjoint Analysis and Multi-Actor Multi-Criteria Analysis (MAMCA) to unravel and compare the preferences of different stakeholders.

We have experience in topics such as the impact of intermodal subsidization, the internalization of external transport costs, synchromodality, the set-up of new transport infrastructure and the influence of new transport technologies on the modal competition.

City logistics 

MOBI pursues research in the field of city logistics to support both professional and societal stakeholders in their decisions. We mainly focus on the final leg of the supply chain, which is usually the least efficient leg from an economic and societal perspective. Since the majoritMAMCA photo 1y of last mile movements in dense urban areas are done by road, they impose all sorts of negative impacts on their environment. Our analyses assess the impact of innovative measures and logistics solutions. Then we compare the support they receive from different stakeholders of urban distribution.

The evaluation techniques we use include Total Cost of Ownership Analysis, Big Data Analytics, Multi-Criteria Analysis and Multi-Actor Multi-Criteria Analysis (MAMCA). Furthermore, we employ various methods to calculate or model the impact of measures and solutions.  Our experience covers research on off-hour deliveries, urban consolidation centres and other consolidation-oriented solutions, e-commerce, omnichannel retail, logistics in a circular economy and the use of electric vehicles for city logistics.

Sustainability impact assessment

Sustainable impact assessment studies are the main focus of our team. Through these studies, we determine the impact on the sustainability of different freight transport alternatives. Taking into account the triple bottom line approach, weMAMCA photo 2 evaluate logistic alternatives on their economic, social and environmental performance.

Special attention is directed towards the assessment of the external costs of transport, which are a monetization of external effects that are not incorporated in the market price of transport services, and which are a crucial input in Social Cost Benefit Analysis (SCBA), Multi-Criteria Analysis and Multi-Actor Multi-Criteria Analysis (MAMCA). An in-house developed External Cost Calculator (ECC) enables our team to analyse the societal impacts of sustainable logistics concepts in depth. The ECC is linked to the output of Transport Agent-Based Model, a freight transport model for the Belgian territory. This enables in-depth analyses on both micro level (streets) and macro level (regional and national) considering driving circumstances and dynamic receptor densities. External Cost Calculator photo 1

Our experience with sustainable logistics covers not only assessments in the main fields of intermodal transport and city logistics but also focuses on i.e. collaborative logistics (freight bundling), longer and heavier vehicles, shared trailer parking, crowd logistics, etc. for the Flemish Government, we made the Roadmap to meet the Climate goals for freight transport, analysing the acceptance and impact of 43 scenarios. Expertise in carbon footprint assessments is demonstrated by our role as a neutral assessor in the Flemish Lean & Green certification process and the development of the Logistics Sustainability Index, both organized by VIL.

If you are interested in our expertise, feel free to contact any member of our sustainable logistics team.