Dr. Russell D. Meller Takes Part in International Logistics Project

Meller takes Physical Internet Initiative to European project

 Russell D. Meller, professor of industrial engineering at the University of Arkansas and director of the Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution, is a founding member of the Physical Internet Initiative. He is currently taking part in a European project called Modular Logistics Units in Shared Co-Modal Networks, or MODULUSHCA. MODULUSHCA is a consortium of 15 partners, including European research institutes, universities, international associations and industry partners. Meller has been appointed as a visiting distinguished professor at the Institute of Technical Logistics at Graz University of Technology in Austria, a member of MODULUSHCA.

The Physical Internet Initiative is an international initiative that proposes a new, efficient and sustainable system for logistics. Using the digital Internet as a defining metaphor, the Physical Internet is envisioned as an open global logistics system using physical, digital and operational interconnectivity to create a sustainable and efficient logistics web for physical objects.

Modern life depends heavily on the movement of physical goods such as food, furniture, medicine and office supplies. The shipping and storing of these goods, known as logistics, sustains our lifestyle and business activities, but current logistics systems are inefficient and unsustainable. For example, trucks and shipping containers often travel long distances empty or half-empty, a practice that wastes money and contributes to increases in greenhouse gas emissions.

The MODULUSHCA project, which has been described as the first real pilot project of the Physical Internet, aims at developing an interconnected logistics system across Europe. The focus of the project is on developing interlocking modular containers that can be used for shipping goods. A system of standardized, eco-friendly, digitally connected containers would make it easier for shipping companies to share physical logistics assets (like trailers and warehouses) to help ensure that trucks, trains, ships and other transportation modes are used as efficiently as possible.

Meller's position in Austria will enable him to contribute his expertise in the Physical Internet and also contribute a U.S. perspective as the European project seeks to establish standards.

Release date: 6/27/2013