She is a logistics networker who builds bridges, between town and country, between transportation routes for people and things: Anja Sylvester. Geography graduate and CEO of LandLogistik, she wants to lend goods more mobility without traffic increasing. The goal is fast and inexpensive transport chains that save on resources to boot. In this interview she discusses packages and parcels that go by bus and train, and how science and business can help each other.
For 20 years you’ve been involved with innovation and communication in all things transport. How did this become your life’s main theme and what has motivated you along the way?
Anja Sylvester: I’ve lived both in metropolitan hubs such as Singapore, Hamburg, and Berlin as well as North Frisia and the little island of Fehmarn. All without my own car, to this day. Professionally, rural areas have always challenged me more than urban ones. Getting started in mobility consulting for public transport ultimately brought me to logistics in 2010. The two sectors are closely related. I like to think of them as a system.
Through transport I can combine the tried and true and loose ends in an innovative way. Create synergies. Networking, communicating, listening, and creativity are my strengths, but they also motivate me to master challenges.
How can companies and municipalities in Germany use the LandLogistik network? Do you only cover rural regions?
Sylvester: LandLogistik stands for the national expansion of an inter- and multimodal logistics system. Our focus is very clearly rural areas. What needs to be done there is more urgent. Cities already have a huge fan following. An example: If you want to send or receive packages and other small goods shipments in the countryside, you have a problem. For the usual service providers, the haulage on the last mile oftentimes isn’t worth it because the trip is too long.
To bridge this logistical gap, LandLogistik brings municipalities and companies together. So packages may start riding smart by bus and train through the countryside, as with the research project CargoSurfer. Trips happening anyway are used optimally. We generally try to give market transparency to unused cargo capacity in public passenger and commercial transport. To do so we’re developing CargoSurfer, a digital aid and responsive web app. Here the entire analog transport process is being digitalized for goods recipients, carriers, hub operators, and consignees. Logistics thus becomes fuel for regional value creation, ensures local supply, and sustains jobs. Bear in mind that we’re supporting climate protection, which is crucial for municipalities.
What do you say as a networker, how can business and science work together on innovative logistics solutions?
Sylvester: Innovation requires strength and persuading. Not all companies – small and medium-sized microenterprises even less so – have their own research department with the relevant expertise to test their own ideas and concepts, to examine, to discard, then to go back to redesign. And science needs its complex studies fitted to reality out there. It creates meaning when applications generate added value – for the customer, the company, for society.
The collective, however, needs a common language. By collaborating on the mFUND project CargoSurfer with KLU, we found one. We abide in practice-oriented research in co-operation with a unique, indeed highly cooperative project consortium.
Alongside knowledge, business universities also offer access to professionals and managers with the logistics knowledge of tomorrow. Recently, LandLogistik partnered with KLU on a workshop for undergraduates – a boot camp on artificial intelligence in urban mobility and logistics. A meeting of young inquiring minds, absolutely inspiring. It would be fantastic if someone from this setting wanted to continue their journey with us, LandLogistik.
In three words, how would you describe KLU?
Fresh. Practical. Likeable.
Founded in 2017, LaLoG LandLogistik GmbH, is a company that develops innovative and digitally driven logistics solutions for multimodal transport chains and the intelligent linkage of passenger and commercial transport. Further, LandLogistik advises municipalities, local institutions, and transportation operators on matters of mobility and logistics management, digitalization, and business development.
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