Project Update - Data Logistics 4 Logistics Data

Sharing data is the cornerstone on which digital collaboration in logistics rests. Therefore, data sharing is crucial for increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and alleviating pressure on infrastructure and the environment. Additionally, digital collaboration enables the creation of new logistics concepts, leading to fresh business opportunities and solutions for challenges such as goods visibility, synchronization of planning among partners, and capacity consolidation.

In February 2023, we spoke with Dr. Lydia Meijer, senior strategist at TNO in Groningen and former professor at the University of Amsterdam. Other principal investigators included Dr. Ana Oprescu and Prof. Dr. Ir. Cees de Laat. The DL4LD project was supported by NWO and TKI Dinalog, where they jointly work to drive innovation in logistics in the Netherlands.

Trust and Data Sovereignty in Logistics

The DL4LD research project supports the Dutch logistics sector in digitizing their business processes. A data infrastructure was needed to facilitate data sharing among logistics partners under legal protection, allowing for easy and robust ad-hoc setups. Therefore, DL4LD focused on maintaining the data owner's sovereignty over access to, usage, processing, and distribution of their data. This enforcement is automated, with the computer checking each action on the data against laws, regulations, and contracts between the parties. Automation is crucial, especially in logistics where multiple companies are involved in transactions, often in an ad-hoc and highly competitive manner. DL4LD demonstrates how a complex digital business ecosystem can be established, enabling data to be processed and exchanged under legal protection.

Digital Business Ecosystems, Secure Trustworthy Digital Market Place (STDMP)

One way to reduce the lack of trust is through the concept of Secure Trustworthy Digital Marketplaces (STDMP). Drawing on previous research from 2016 at the University of Amsterdam, DL4LD parallels this with the well-known physical market, where a market master enforces rules established by a foundation or association of market traders. The same board is initially responsible for resolving conflicts. In an STDMP, a member acknowledges the agreements for data sharing and is then enabled to use the STDMP, sharing, processing, or using data as part of digital transactions. Furthermore, an STDMP supports organizations in the business ecosystem by reporting on transactions and facilitating dispute resolution.

DL4LD's Contribution

Lydia explains the approach: "On the one hand, we collaborated with companies to gain precise insights into their data sharing needs. For this, we organized technology demonstrations, roundtable discussions, and presentations. Through project partners evofenedex, Air France, and Ciena Networks, we were able to gather national and international feedback on our approach. Consortium partner Thales shared a vision on digital marketplaces in a whitepaper. Partner Amsterdam Smart City & DataHub used the knowledge in the trial with AMdEX, the Amsterdam Data Exchange. BizzDesign provided the software for designing software systems. The University of Amsterdam researched advanced technologies for creating and deploying STDMPs. DL4LD concepts were also practically tested with the Port of Amsterdam by DL4LD consortium partners Transfides, Oracle, and TNO. These projects have continued after the trial, which is a great result."
In four work packages, a significant contribution was made to:

  • Developing a reference architecture for STDMP
  • Designing and testing essential functions for data sharing in STDMP
  • Promoting large-scale acceptance through openness, standardization, and interoperability
  • Connecting with national and international initiatives focused on reliable data sharing for the logistics sector
  • Building a realistic demonstration (and test) environment
  • Developing open-source components to support the reference architecture

Three PhD Candidates Within the research, three PhD candidates have been working. In 2023, they will defend their theses on the following topics:

Lu Zhang: A policy compliance detection architecture for data exchange infrastructures.

Mostafa Mohajeriparizi: Modelling governance in complex cyber infrastructures.

Xin Zhou: Incentive design for the promotion of compliant behavior in data-sharing environments.

The Partners

The DL4LD project is carried out by a consortium of science UvA, TNO, and various companies: CIENA, Air France KLM, Thales, Smart City Amsterdam, BiZZdesign, Oracle Nederland BV, Transfides, and evofenedex. Lydia says: "Setting up such a consortium is always a lot of work, and it's great to see that much of our work and the network continue during and after the research. An interesting development was the arrival of AMdEX, where many of our partners are involved. Together, we have worked in many ways to promote the principles for a data infrastructure. A significant step forward!"

The Future

DL4LD shows that the concept of SDTMPs makes it possible to use data from various companies in a federative digital infrastructure reliably under the protection of enforcing authorities. If the government adopts the concept, SDTMPs will become the building blocks of the digital society. "We knew where we wanted to go in 2016 and with DL4LD, we have been able to demonstrate why a digital marketplace is needed. And we continue; new funds are being applied for, and the community remains active. Personally, I find it fantastic to see how PhD candidates flourished during their research, and I am happy to contribute to that," concludes Lydia.

DL4LD's presentations and publications are also available via the UvA DL4LD site: