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Subject:ICONET: A revolution on transport and logistics via Physical internet

The ICONET project is a 30-month research project, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under the Grant Agreement number 769119. Since its start in September 2018 and for two and a half years, it has investigated the benefits of the Physical Internet (PI), as a new innovative concept, which can revolutionize the way physical goods are transported. 

eBOS Technologies role in the ICONET project proved to be pivotal having the responsibility of the management and monitoring of the Living Labs and the Risk Management and Quality Assurance of the project’s outputs. The positive feedback from the project reviewers at the closure of the project prove that there was value added from the company’s knowledge base and well-versed experience in managing European projects in research and development.

The idea behind the PI is to connect and synchronize all logistics networks to create a physical network of networks, capable of autonomously optimizing the shipment of encapsulated goods of several types and sizes in compliance with multiple diverse requirements by means of routing protocols, tracking mechanisms and interoperability standards between collaborative networks. The computer network standards and enabling technologies of the Digital Internet (DI) are inspiring the architecture and framework of the PI and the future logistics in search of seamless and cost-saving transport of goods around the globe. The Logistics operators can connect to this new federated logistics’ network, and with synchronized resources and data interchange of legacy systems, such as Transport and Warehouse Management Systems, they can achieve cost reductions and more efficient processes. 

The ICONET project through the deployment of Living Labs, co-designed by business users and technology partners, has set up, tested and thoroughly examined the optimization of logistics processes towards an eco-friendlier, service-driven, sustainable supply chain. The results of the testing look quite promising and despite the differences of the DI and the PI, initial Simulation measurements indicate that the PI remains a promising foundation on which future collaborative business models in the logistics sector can be based on. 

The PI concept represents a vision for next-generation hubs, warehouses, transit and distribution centres, termed PI nodes, that are networked to integrate PI enabled TEN-T corridors in a secure and trusted architecture conceived from Internet inspired principles. Central to the PI approach are the PI node design, cargo routing strategies and state-of-the-art hyperconnectivity based on novel networking paradigms. The outcome of this research work is bringing the PI realization closer and although more work is needed towards a finalized and accepted framework, the efforts add significantly to the knowledge base of the PI concept. It is expected that the transformation will start on a horizontal collaborative level between shippers and then expand to vertical collaborations, peer agreements and a more densely connected network of networks.

The Transport and Logistics industry is a key contributor to the macroeconomic developments around the globe, even though it remains to date a fragmented industry with limited interconnection between operators, proprietary systems and often lack of supply chain visibility. The recent pandemic outbreak has shown the vulnerability of the industry to exogenous parameters and the need for a greater and more transparent collaboration amongst actors with enhanced and novel technological solutions in the supply chain playfield. Advancements, which will undoubtedly result in cost savings, minimized environmental impact and more optimised operations.


The ICONET project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Grant Agreement No 769119.

Philippos Philippou, eBOS Technologies Ltd