Digitalization and new technological developments, such as 3D printing, the Internet of Things, 5G, predictive analytics, Big Data, robotics, drones and artificial intelligence are expected to reshape processes along the entire logistics value chain from contract logistics and warehouse management to last-mile delivery. Luxembourg is well aware of these future challenges and offers companies a great living lab to develop innovative services and test new offerings.
An ideal testbed
Luxembourg is a perfect testbed for international companies due to two main reasons: its size and its agility. A wide range of population segments and physical environments are available in a small and convenient geographical area. The ease of access to politicians and key decision-makers is coupled with a strong determination to keep Luxembourg on the cutting edge of new technological advances. The country is thus very open to testing innovative solutions and implementing necessary regulatory and practical adaptations.
Luxembourg will blaze a trail in the development of autonomous and connected driving technologies when its centre and south regions become a test laboratory. The area is part of a cross-border digital experimental site, also spanning roads in the Metz region in France and Saarland in Germany. The three countries have committed to work together to create an environment where innovative technologies can be tested on all road categories.
Big data and advanced analytics represent a huge potential for the logistics and supply chain sector, especially in terms of process efficiency and service delivery. Companies aiming to develop services in this field need state-of-the-art ICT infrastructures. Luxembourg is at the forefront of the digital revolution and home to one of the best digital infrastructures in the world.
Supporting research, development and innovation
The Government actively encourages innovative companies in Luxembourg to carry out R&D activities in collaboration with research institutes. The country offers, for example, the possibility to set up joint industrial research projects with the Luxembourg Center for Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LCL), which was created by the University of Luxembourg in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Transportation & Logistics (MIT CTL). Primary research areas at the LCL include among others supply chain data analytics, revenue and inventory management, supply chain finance, behavioral operations management and process improvement.
Furthermore, the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is a research and technology organization active in the fields of materials, environment as well as IT and focuses a part of its research on the mobility, transport and logistics sector.
In line with Luxembourg’s aim of becoming a European center of excellence for secure, reliable and trustworthy ICT, the Interdisciplinary Center for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) of the University of Luxembourg conducts internationally ICT research with high relevance for business, including the logistics and supply chain sector. Research focus areas include secure and compliant data management, cyber security, satellite systems, autonomous vehicles and Internet of things. Through its partnership program that involves the most prominent members, the SnT develops concepts that give companies in Luxembourg and beyond a solid and long-lasting competitive advantage.
Vibrant start-up ecosystem
Innovative logistics start-ups can be hosted and coached in an incubator or innovation centre in order to ease their development from early to mature stage. The Luxembourg ecosystem offers various funding schemes for promising start-ups in form of grants and equity investment. The Fit 4 Start programme, for example, supports ICT start-ups in their establishment phase by offering early-stage funding and coaching. The Digital Tech Fund is a seed fund that provides critical venture capital support for promising early-stage high-tech start-ups.
The House of Startups (HoST) was set up in 2017 by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce with the ambition to become a driving force behind the startup and innovation ecosystem in Luxembourg.
Vodafone and the Technoport incubator have launched Tomorrow Street Innovation Center. This public-private partnership aims to support late-stage start-ups to go global.
Towards a fully paperless environment
The freight activity requires a large number of declarations and transport documents and a guarantee of traceability. Luxembourg is involved in international initiatives to accelerate and digitalize the procedures linked to the transport of goods.
Since 2008, Luxembourg is recognized by IATA as a country that early on supported the expansion of e-Freight for air transport. This project consists in optimizing the cost and duration of processing procedures by dematerializing these documents.
In the area of road transport, the e-CMR protocol aims at supporting the use of the electronic consignment note. As of March 2018, Luxembourg authorizes the use of digital consignment notes for road transport after the adoption of the UNECE e-CMR protocol addition and also participates in a Benelux e-CMR project. The first transport to use this electronic document was carried out in April 2018.
Resulting from the collaboration between government agencies and economic operators, the innovative electronic platform Single Window for Logistics allows to obtain all required legal information on cross-border flows of goods, facilitate dialog with government agencies and access procedures on-line for obtaining permits or certificates related to international trade.