Our main themes for 2018/19
“Digitalisation and competition go hand in hand," says Roman Stiftner, President of the Austrian Federal Association of Logistics (BVL). "Combining a modern infrastructure with artificial intelligence results in a smart infrastructure whose high efficiency and ecological sustainability can safeguard jobs and the economy".
The logistics sector is facing new information technology challenges. Customers in the digital age expect high standards of service and flexibility from logistics services and wield a strong influence over transport decisions. These customers expect real-time tracking information on their deliveries and they expect international distribution networks to offer integrated digital services. To achieve this, digital logistics has to become more interactive, faster, more secure and has to operate and communicate more reliably.
Pioneering technologies like blockchain need to be deployed to enable efficient digital cooperation. Customers will then become part of an integrated transport chain and be able to make their own transport decisions. Because blockchain enables transparent collaboration within a transport operation, it helps rationalise processes and reduces costs.
As digitalisation continues to advance, it will also change the nature of the work carried out along the logistics and transportation chain. Staff training will have to adapt to meet these challenges and to ensure that working conditions in the sector continue to improve.
"The important issues of business location require the collaborative effort of the entire logistics community," says Franz Staberhofer, Chairman of the Austrian Logistics Network Association (VNL).
The different modes of transport must be used in a way that maximises their benefits for the economy, the environment and society. It is the logistician's job to create multimodal transport chains that optimally meet the needs of the customer. With the support of stakeholders and professional associations, we must highlight the socio-political importance of freight transport and logistics at every available opportunity.
Location, infrastructure and spatial planning
"Austrian industry needs an innovative, harmonised and efficient infrastructure and logistics system that complies with the current preference for a sensible mobility ecosystem," says Peter Koren, Deputy Director General, Federation of Austrian Industries (IV).
A strongly export-led economy like Austria's depends on efficient, reliable and competitive logistics and transportation services. These include a well-developed, integrated transport infrastructure that optimally meets the needs of the Austrian economy while at the same time making a significant contribution to Austria's sustainability goals. Moreover, the growing importance of the logistics sector is reflected in the increased demand for space in both urban and rural areas. Logistics real estate – in the form of storage, handling and distribution centres – is a basic prerequisite for a properly functioning economy. Unfortunately, regional planning currently pays little or no attention to the needs of the logistics sector. This has to change in the future.
A career of the future
"Pay and working conditions must be commensurate with the scale of opportunities and challenges," says Sylvia Leodolter, Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour (AK), Department for Environment and Transport.
"To meet its challenges, the sector needs well-trained employees. We must therefore offer appropriate levels of remuneration and a generous social safety net,” says Karl Delfs, Confederal Secretary for Road Transport of the Vida trade union.
Logistics brings together people from many specialist fields, such as transport, IT, R&D, mechatronics, etc. It offers people from very different educational backgrounds a variety of career opportunities, a wide choice of professions and a stake in an expanding industry. There are excellent opportunities for young, specialist professionals as well as for young people entering the sector from other industries. IT specialists and software developers are also in great demand.
The competition in the single European market is putting pressure on working conditions and incomes in some sectors, particularly the road freight transport sector. We therefore need to advance and support measures at both national and European levels that will contribute to the continued improvement of working conditions.
Austria offers excellent conditions for the domestic logistics sector: situated in the heart of Europe, it is located at the crossroads of several major transcontinental transport routes. A stable economic and political environment, safety and security, reliable transport systems and first-rate infrastructure are the basis for achieving top logistic performances.