With the contribution of the LIFE programme of the European Union - LIFE17 ENV/GR/000215 and the co-financing of Green Fund, Greece
April 2021 - LIFE GreenYourRoute
The month's LIFE Project for April 2021 is GreenYourRoute.
Identity of the project
LIFE GreenYourRoute (LIFE GYR) is an innovative logistics platform for last mile delivery of goods in urban environments developed within a multidisciplinary approach of environmental engineering, computer science and operation research.
The aim of LIFE GreenYourRoute project is to deliver and demonstrate, to 5 SMEs in 3 different EU member states, an innovative, smart, and integrated green vehicle routing platform (i.e. an intelligent transportation planning and execution system) for last mile delivery that will include a set of tools and services that will promote eco-efficient sustainable freight transport operations in urban regions, via environmental-friendly vehicle routing decisions addressing at the same time driving eco-requirements as well as operational cost efficiency through an innovative environmental assessment approach.
Under the frame of LIFE GreenYourRoute project and taking into account the beneficiaries' environmental performance, cost considerations, market availability and ease of verification, a set of provisions on Green Procurements were incorporated in a Memorandum of Understanding compiled for the project beneficiaries. The green procurement criteria included, were decided with respect to the participating companies’ nature, i.e. companies performing logistics operations, IT companies and a consulting company. They are also applicable to future customers of GYR-Company, a company planned to be established under the frame of the project.
Road freight transport and logistics operations in general, essential for the economic development, have several harmful effects on the environment. In Greece, supply chain and logistics are among the most important areas of development in the forthcoming years, since several international companies proceeded in private investments in the Greek area and the National Plan for the transformation of the country into a vital logistics hub for South-Eastern Europe is fully under way.
GYR team puts high effort in convincing logistics stakeholders to adopt green operations in logistics legislation. To this scope, the Greek Supply Development and Competitiveness Council, the Greek national body in charge for logistics operations, was approached, for which green logistics is also one of the top priorities. After several contacts, the project coordinator managed to become an external member of the council, thus having the opportunity to participate in their meetings and promote green logistics initiatives relevant to LIFE GreenYourRoute.
Moreover, fruitful contacts were made with Greek local authorities. Several municipalities expressed their interest in adopting GYR platform in their daily waste collection operations. To this scope, data are currently being collected, in order to integrate their operations in GYR platform.
One of the core objectives of LIFE GreenYourRoute project is to demonstrate that environmental friendly routing is also cost-saving. Environmental friendly routing is considered by most logistics companies less efficient and requiring investments. Creating a balance between those conflicting aspects (economic and environmental) has always been a challenge. However, a growing need for logistics to become more green needs to be fulfilled, in order logistics companies to become more competent and follow the principles of sustainability.
A change of thinking is needed for logistics companies; to this scope LIFE GreenYouRoute project will showcase through workshops, webinars, events and conferences participation and vivid communication through electronic media that the environmental friendlier route is also cost saving, through the comparative results of the project’s real-life practice.
To establish the environmental results of GYR platform, its scientific validity and to increase its credibility, GYR team applied for the European Union Environmental Technology Verification, a new tool helping innovative environmental technologies reach the market. GYR Company clients will be able to incorporate to their brand, corporate image, Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) and Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) commitments that they are certified with a green mobility and cleaner driving certification.
The environmental and social benefits of the project will become apparent during the real-life practice period, which is expected to be initiated in August-September 2021. The results of the performance tests performed so far indicate a reduction of the environmental footprint of 15% on average for logistics companies adopting GYR platform in their daily operations.
One of the critical components of GYR platform is the emission calculation tool, which is based on the novel emission calculation model developed under the frame of the project. The emission calculation tool can also operate as a stand-alone program and can be easily integrated in any existing platform.
Moreover the vehicle routing algorithm, which is based on the requirements communicated by five different logistics companies, can be easily adopted by other companies performing routing operations, such as waste collection, home health care services, fuel distribution, portable toilets installation and maintenance, postal and courier services, school busses routing, etc. A generic modeling approach has been developed under the frame of the project, simultaneously addressing several variants of the classical vehicle routing problem, including environmental considerations, vehicle capacity, time windows, pickups and deliveries, backhauls, multiple depots and starting points existence, performance of open routes, heterogenous fleets, precedencies of visits, load-specific vehicles, customer-specific vehicles and other variations that have been identified during the project implementation.
GYR vehicle routing algorithm can also be easily integrated in any existing routing platform.
GYR platform is almost finalized and is currently tested and evaluated for its performance. Until September 2021, it will be put in full operation for the project demonstrators, to provide them with the environmental friendliest and most efficient routing solutions for their daily transport operations.