Thanks to its long tradition with logistics the Province of Antwerp has gained know how which is viewed with respect throughout the world. This experience is obtained by interaction with logistics problems and by solving them. Both on operational or conceptual levels the Province has gained renewed interest over the past years, putting know how back on the agenda. The conceptual approach aims at optimizing transport problems. Often specific assumptions and methods are applied which are being published in specialized literature reviews. In a later stage concepts and improvements are distilled from this information. A next phase will determine if additional operational benefits exist. Examples can be found with pilot projects which are monitored and implemented by different logistics players.
Practical knowhow is gained with companies who create procedures or concepts offering a concurrentional advantage but which are not theoretically supported. A sound and regular inquiry with the industry helps to discover new trends and solutions. Often practical solutions are later investigated in theory creating a fruitful interaction.
In practice there isn’t a clear separation between the conceptual and operational know how. This is being caused by the fact that logistics is essentially an applied science in a competing environment. The globalization of the economy gave birth to new challenges at a surprisingly high pace. Because of this new concepts are developed, applied and evaluated on a relative short time span. The Province has, thanks to the port and the industrial areas in the hinterland, set up a valuable practical knowledge base.
Currently the conceptual approach is gaining more terrain. The theoretical research which drives practical applications can offer the region a lasting global head start. For this support has to be given for the interaction between theory and practice supporting innovation to the full extent. Logistics are not only driven by technical sciences alone. Often social sciences like economy, applied psychology and marketing are components leading to a true commercial viable concept. In this sense logistics is a subject securing a large application base.
The development and support of logistical concepts is monitored by multiple knowledge centers. The Province of Antwerp is home to the University of Antwerp, associated university colleges and other educational institutes that strongly focused on logistics. The Flemish Institute for Logistics (Vlaams Instituut voor de Logistiek - VIL) is examining research checked by the industry. The further development and promotion of know how is still one of the main policy focus points of the Province of Antwerp.
The presence of know how should become visible however, as the general public is not aware of the activities that take place. By issuing an active information and promotion policy the visibility is greatly increased and the people get involved with current challenges and welfare strategies.