DB Schenker with three other logistic companies launch Open Logistics Foundation

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DB Schenker, Dachser, duisport and Rhenus established the Open Logistics Foundation, a non-profit foundation in Berlin to build a European open-source community aiming to promote digitalization in logistics and supply chain management. 

Not only is a technology initiative like this unique in logistics to date, but the founding members are also taking on a pioneering role as to the future topic of open source. On the foundation's establishment, the board members were appointed. Jochen Thewes (Chairman), CEO of DB Schenker, Dr. Stephan Peters (Vice-Chairman), Member of the Board of Rhenus, and Stefan Hohm (Vice-Chairman), CDO of Dachser, were elected to the Executive Board. The Advisory Board is made up of Prof. Dr. h. c. Michael ten Hompel (Chairman), Managing Director of the Fraunhofer IML, and Markus Bangen, CEO of duisport, as well as Jakub Piotrowski CIO/CDO of BLG Logistics Group.

“We want to drive the digitalization of logistics forward together. That is why open source is an important success factor for the entire logistics industry and, at the same time, a driver for harmonized processes in digital supply chains. We consider the Open Logistics Foundation to be the first step towards a platform economy based on European legal standards and values. It is both a beginning and an appeal to the logistics sector to think of technology and processes together and actively participate in the open-source community,” the founding members declared in a joint statement. 

The Open Logistics Foundation was initiated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML as part of its Silicon Economy research project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) with 25 million euros. 

Jochen Thewes, CEO of DB Schenker, Chairman of the Board of the Open Logistics Foundation said, “If we want to digitize logistics successfully, we have to overcome silo structures. Hardware and software from open source can and will make a significant contribution to achieving this. The benefits are impressively simple: Everyone uses the same freight documents, for example, and everyone plans routes or offers tracking and tracing. In this respect, we want to jointly develop IT standards in logistics beyond company boundaries and make the results accessible to everyone. This open-source approach is intended to replace individual investments in the digitalization of commodities. Every company will benefit from this.”

The foundation addresses all logistics-related companies and their IT developers. The funding association is open to new members from all areas of logistics, ranging from industry, retail and services to freight forwarders and political organizations. 

Numerous companies already announced their participation in the funding association, including AEB, BLG Logistics Group, GS1 Germany, Lobster Logistics Cloud and the Bochum-based Setlog Holding, but also associations such as the Fraunhofer- Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung (Fraunhofer Society).

The core of the foundation's work is the operation of the so-called Open Logistics Repository, a technical platform on which software and hardware interfaces reference implementations and components available as open-source under a free license (permissive license).

The set-up phase of the platform will take place in the coming year. In Berlin, some open-source projects have already been named, for example, the first open-source digital consignment note (eCMR) as well as implementations for the digital load carrier exchange or the AGV interface VDA 5050. Further developments from the community will be added in the future.

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