The Interplay between the Physical Internet and Logistics: A Literature Review and Future Research Directions
Keywords:Physical Internet, Logistics, Transportation, Sustainability
In recent years, there is a need for new methods and frameworks for planning transport systems, improving their efficiency, and addressing globalisation and sustainability challenges. In addition, the use of existing capacities and infrastructure has raised significant issues in the transport sector. To achieve an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable logistics ecosystem, Benoit Montreuil introduces the concept of “Physical Internet” (PI) to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of logistics networks. As a ground-breaking transportation philosophy, the PI aims to revolutionise freight and logistics transport. Moreover, the PI can enhance logistics productivity through the organisation of large-scale pooling. Similar to Digital Internet that conveys data, the PI strives to connect, synchronise, and ship regular modular containers from the point of origin to an exact destination, thereby creating robust and collaborative logistics networks. While the literature on the PI is relatively growing, there is still a lack of reviews that synthesise this knowledge body, identify current trends and gaps, and advance the research more broadly. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the potentials of the PI for the development of sustainable logistics networks. Overall, 59 studies are selected from leading academic databases and further analysed. The review findings reveal that most scholars focus on the optimisation of transport at the tactical and organisational stage while devoting little attention to the contribution of the PI to the social sustainability of logistics compared to the economic and environmental aspects.
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