European Priorities in Science and Technology with Reference to Freight Logistics
MONITOR - SAST ACTIVITY Strategic Analysis in Science and Technology Project Nr. 9
The situation of logistics in Europe is characterized by a rapid change taking place in many enterprises in the Community. The emergence of new technologies, the moves in organizational skills, the changing market demands, the rising awareness of the European public concerning environmental and social issues and the institutional changes in the framework conditions caused by the Internal Market legislation are forcing the European enterprises to reconsider their logistics. This study has identified the internationalization of logistic activities, the externalization of logistic functions and the centralization of logistic facilities as major trends the enterprises in Europe will follow generally in the long term, despite sectoral and individual differences. The restructuring process of logistics has started and will accelerate in the years ahead. Due to the critical issues and bottlenecks identified, this process is in an ambiguous stage and has not gained the pace needed for completition of the Internal Market. For the Community, logistics is not a topic which can be neglected: logistics is the most important factor for European enterprises in gaining their Internal Market benefits. It is the tool for the realization of the actions Cecchini identified as the main contributors to the advantages of the Internal Market; logistics determines from 10 up to 30 % of all costs in industrial enterprises; logistics in enterprises affects the overall economy by having recognizable positive but also negative effects on third parties (e. g. on environment). A coherent and consistent European policy affects all aspects in determining the context of logistic systems and the consequences of the redefined European parameters as well as the consequences of the use of Eurologistic systems will occur in a Europe-wide and trans-border context. Therefore the Community will be necessarily involved in avoiding negative consequences by active measures or by reshaping the parameters for logistic activities. The outline of policy recommendations identifies three lines of action which should be taken regarding the European S&T demands in the field of logistics. These lines are: the addition of important related activities to logistics in existing EC S&T programmes; the establishment and logistic services ensuring the integrative aspects of logistics and playing the coordinating role for logistics in S&T policy; complementary measures ensuring the coordination and adjustment with other Community policies.