On the evening of Wednesday 31 January 2024, Cluster for Logistics (C4L) held a New Year's Drink paired with the Lean & Green Awards Ceremony 2023 at POST's HELIX headquarters in Luxembourg-Gare.
The special guest of this members- and guests-only event was Luxembourg's Minister of the Economy, SMEs, Energy and Tourism, Lex Delles. There were also speeches by Carlo Thelen, Director General of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and President of C4L, Mario Treinen, Director of POST Courier and C4L Vice-President, C4L’s new President Daniel Kohl and his predecessor Malik Zeniti.
In his introduction, Carlo Thelen spoke of this “time of change” in Luxembourg, with a new government but also changes for C4L (new director since October 2023). He spoke of ongoing challenges (energy crisis, recession) but also opportunities for the transport and logistics sector, noting that C4L aimed to support the new government in strengthening economic development and accelerating the diversification of the economy. He added that there were “enough reasons to remain optimistic in 2024” and emphasised that C4L was united across critical issues and would continue to promote the sector’s image and to collaborate with its members.
Minister Delles emphasised the “crucial” role played by logistics and the supply chain, which remains a priority sector for the new government. He noted that many well-known companies are based in Luxembourg, with some specialising in areas such farmer logistics and digital procurement; he also referenced the dedicated Chair in Digital Procurement at the University of Luxembourg. He noted that the Ministry of the Economy aims to support companies in their digital and green transition, for example through grants for innovation and research projects and adapted aid schemes. Another useful tool, according to the minister, is the CAVE Lab at the Luxembourg Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LCL), which helps companies visualise complex supply chain problems by simulating scenarios. Minister Delles concluded by congratulating the winners of the Lean & Green Awards 2023.
Mario Treinen later presented the “beauty and functionality” of POST Luxembourg’s HELIX building which is “almost energy neutral”. He spoke of POST’s mission of fully electrifying its fleet, as well as embracing digitalisation for sustainability. He particularly emphasised the importance of employee engagement.
The event was also an opportunity to both officially welcome C4L’s new Director Daniel Kohl and thank his predecessor Malik Zeniti for his contribution. The former began his presentation by highlighting five investment mega trends as presented by BlackRock, namely demographic divergence (ageing population), digital disruption and artificial intelligence (to improve and boost productivity), geopolitical fragmentation and economic competition, the future of finance, and the transition to a low carbon economy. He moved on to the top supply chain trends for 2024, which also included digitalisation and AI, as well as investment in systems and people, disruption and risk management, agility and resilience, cybersecurity, and green and circular supply chains, among others. He recommended a mindset change for competitiveness, encompassing the areas of administrative simplifications at the EU level, customs, airport security, social aspects, education and awareness-raising about the sector, creating a national law for logistics, digitalisation, and exploring the potential of “EcoCombi” vehicles. He concluded by thanking the event hosts and C4L’s increasing number of members. “Together we can move mountains,” he said.
Next on the agenda was the Lean & Green Awards Ceremony 2023, with the two winners having an opportunity to present their achievements. This sustainable logistics label exists across Europe and even in America. Its goal is to promote sustainable logistics practices and sees companies in the sector aim to reduce CO2 emissions on an ongoing basis. There are five stages with companies who have reduced emissions by 20% receiving their first star, those having reduced them by 30% receiving their second star and so on. Sixteen out of 600+ of the companies involved in the programme are active in Luxembourg. Here, the Lean & Green programme is organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Mobility and Public Works and Connekt with support from Enovos.
The 2023 recipients were Streff, who received its first star, and Luxport Group, who received its second star. Streff has already managed to cut its logistics-related emissions by at least 20% despite still being at the start of its five-year journey (2022-27). The main motivation behind getting involved in the programme was to “establish a general measuring and reporting mechanism” but the main challenge was associated with Streff not being a “traditional” logistics company (not many long-distance trips, etc.). As such, the company is making efforts to electrify its fleet.
Luxport Group, for its part, has set itself a long-term goal of reaching CO2 neutral transport. The group started its Lean & Green journey in 2017 and achieved its first star in 2020. By 2022, it had reduced CO2 per handled tonne by 33.5% compared to 2015. This involved a “significant investment” in electrification but also through energy efficiency, organisational improvement and improving handling efficiency and land-use intensity (e.g. by installing a crane).
Former C4L Director Malik Zeniti congratulated the winners, before expressing some of his thoughts and concerns for the sector. He emphasised the need to be dynamic and “think big” in order to compete with other places such as the United States. He stressed the need for more political support for the sector, which he recalled was really adding value. He also emphasised the need to support apprenticeships and to train and upskill people in the sector, as well as investing in logistics.
The evening concluded with a networking reception.