New research center for sustainable logistics launched in Hamburg

CO2 control knob

Kühne Logistics University (KLU) and Kuehne+Nagel have jointly founded an independent research center for sustainable logistics and supply chains in Hamburg. Together, the leading logistics university and the globally operating logistics provider want to help establish the Hanseatic city as an international hub for sustainable logistics.

Download the press release in English or German (PDF).

Professor Thomas Strothotte, President of KLU, had the following to say on the occasion of the opening for the Center for Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chains (CSLS) on September 1, 2020: “As a result of the coronavirus crisis, global CO2 emissions were significantly reduced. How can we successfully regain our economic competitiveness and permanently reduce these emissions, which are now climbing again? Ecological sustainability means reconciling both goals. Our new research center will make a substantial contribution in this regard.” Working from a basis of five years initial funding from Kuehne+Nagel, the CSLS is expected to rapidly gain momentum through regional and international collaborations.

Joint forces for sustainable logistics solutions

Otto Schacht, Member of the Management Board at Kuehne + Nagel International AG, responsible for sea logistics: “With our Net Zero Carbon program, Kuehne+Nagel has assumed a pioneering role in the logistics industry: by 2030 we will be completely climate-neutral, in terms of both our own CO2 footprint and our customers’ supply chains. In this regard, one vital component is the reduction of emissions – at sea, in the air and on the street. This aspect is what led us to join forces with KLU to advance research into innovative, sustainable logistics solutions.”

Cooperation with companies to reduce emissions

The “decarbonization” of logistics in order to reduce CO2 emissions, though it will be a massive undertaking, is also tremendously relevant and urgently needed, as the center’s Academic Director, Dr. Moritz Petersen, underscored. After all, logistics-related activities account for roughly 10 percent of global CO2 emissions. Dr. Petersen has taught and conducted research at KLU since 2016 and accepted an appointment as professor there just a few days ago. Together with Alan McKinnon, a Professor of Logistics at KLU and author of the influential book “Decarbonizing Logistics,” he is coordinating the new center’s development.

Dr. Petersen also warned of the dangers of exclusively relying on environmentally friendly technologies: “Over the past few decades, advances in fuel efficiency have considerably reduced the emissions produced in transport. Yet the amount of goods transported is growing so quickly that overall emissions are climbing, not falling.” Thanks to extensive research efforts, many concrete ways to meet reduction goals, e.g. those set by the European Union, have already been identified. But the task can’t be left to logistics companies alone; instead, Dr. Petersen stressed, what’s required is the participation of all actors in the supply chains: “We look forward to receiving questions from the industry on this subject, and welcome joint projects with companies throughout the supply chain.”

After the Hapag-Lloyd Center for Shipping and Global Logistics (CSGL), the Center for Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chains (CSLS) marks the second industry-supported KLU research center with a major focus on international networking in the domains research, business and society.