Published on February 27, 2017

Industry 4.0 An opportunity not to be missed

Interview with Guido Ottolenghi, Coordinator of The Logistics, Transport and Sea Economics Technical Group

With particular regard to the freight transport sector, why is launching innovation projects in the context of Industry 4.0 an opportunity not to be missed?

Industry 4.0 is a revolution that provides the opportunity to focus on the customer by changing the business models and value proposition of companies. It is undoubtedly a great opportunity for growth. The development of digital technologies in the productive sectors is an irreversible process, a wave that we have to ride, unless we want to drown in it. Therefore, in the transport and logistics sectors in particular, it is a necessary response, because failure to adapt would result in a competitive gap extremely difficult to bridge.

These sectors are constantly in search of innovation.

It is certainly no coincidence that these sectors are highly innovation- oriented, with substantial capital invested in research and development; they are at the forefront when it comes to experimenting and adopting advanced technological solutions to stay competitive in a globalized market. I am thinking, for example, of the new logistics management and goods tracking systems, of platooning in road transport and automated driving.

Logistics and freight transport need intermodality. What is our progress?

We have come to a point in which Italy, albeit lucky enough to be a natural platform in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and close to the Suez Canal, is unable to act as a logistic base for the traffic coming from the East. Container traffic data in major EU ports is proof of this. Thus, intermodality is a strategic response for the development of freight transport and the extension of the hinterland of the Italian logistics system. It is necessary to foster the modernization of the country in terms of connection between sea and land with regard to logistics, creating conditions for goods to be collected in volumes big enough to consolidate traffic. This would ensure daily departures, at least towards the main destinations in Central Europe.

However, all this requires effort on the front of technological platforms.

There is no doubt that technological platforms play a fundamental role in this scenario. And it is essential that they should communicate with each other, be interconnected. Otherwise, the resulting criticalities would be many; and regrettably, this is what is happening today, with a negative impact on national transport and logistics.

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