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Today, I attended the fresh logistics Asia 2017 exhibition in Shanghai, a trade show for all elements involved in the logistics of fresh food delivery. Fresh food logistics are basically logistics with added requirements regarding temperature, delay, and safe handling of the transported items. The exhibits ranged from production machinery, delivery cars, fork lifts, and big and small containers, and storage systems over appliances like freezers, fridges, cooling systems and doors, registers to food and beverage products and supply offers. Like in case of the Intertraffic China 2017 exhibition I visited about ten days ago, the focus was more on hardware, with very cool exhibits and demonstrations.

For me as a researcher in optimization and mainly interested in the planning and the operations research making logistics and supply chains efficient, it was particularly interesting to see that even at such a rather hardware- and product-oriented fair, several exhibitors focusing on digitization, data management, and optimization of the logistics aspects were present, such as 晶链通. Yet, this subject was less prominent compared to the Intermodal Asia 2017 exhibition, maybe because large-volume container transport on a global scale over a heterogeneous network of carriers makes central data keeping an absolute requirement. Optimization and planning is enabled by the availability of data, it cannot work easily with Excel sheets. This is why I think that a technological evolution will probably start with better ERP, CRM, and warehouse management software, maybe as SaaS systems, for logistics and supply-chain management. Such systems have an immediate and obvious advantage for their users, as they enforce a clear work structure and allow for central statistical analysis. Based on the data collected, it becomes possible to move towards automated planning and optimization instead of starting with the latter.

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Yesterday, I attended the Intertraffic China exhibition in Shanghai. Unfortunately, I only had a relatively short time to spend at the event. Nevertheless, I found the wide variety of companies exhibiting quite impressive. Products were presented from many traffic-related fields such as traffic management, safety, infrastructure, and smart mobility. I personally found the solutions for electronic traffic management most interesting. Similarly to my impression from the Intermodal Asia exhibition earlier this year, I think that there is a very clear trend towards electronic, online, optimized management of logistics and traffic. Maybe this is even more than a trend and already the standard?

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The Consulate General of Germany in Shanghai supports German companies and researchers from the provinces Anhui, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang by organizing a German Science Circle which meets in Shanghai. These meetings are always very interesting and good opportunities for exchanging thoughts. Yesterday, I attended such a meeting with the focus Nanjing, which is the capital of Jiangsu and one hour by train from Hefei. There were two highly interesting presentations followed by a similarly-interesting discussion. Here I want to summarize what I learned at this meeting and add a few thoughts.

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On March 21 I visited the Intermodal Asia 2017 exhibition and conference in Shanghai, China. Intermodal logistics is about transporting goods by using multiple different means of transportation. A typical scenario can be to transport products from a factory to a train station with a truck, then with a train to a port, then via ship to a destination port, then via train to the destination city, and from there via truck to the customer. The center of this conference therefore are logistics, containers and products surrounding them, and how to transport them via trains and ships. There were many exhibiting companies, presenting products such as different container types, anti-corrosive colors, container locks, container spare parts, sharing and leasing services for containers, management software, wood, rubber, and metal products used in the context of transportation, classification and quality control for containers and their production, as well as intermodal logistics services, and transportation-centered newspapers and journals. In the innovation and technology theaters, speakers presented the newest trends and technological advances of the fields. I found this conference very inspiring, as I could learn a lot of new aspects of the intermodal logistics industry and have a few interesting discussions.

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Today, my colleagues Professors Rudolf, Xu, Wang, Zhang, and I visited the Hefei Jinglv Environment Equipment Co., Ltd [合肥劲旅环境科技有限公司], a company developing and producing high-quality environmental equipment, such as garbage trucks and garbage containers of all sizes. In the three-hour plus meeting, several novel technologies and ideas were discussed. I was very impressed not just by the modern production facilities of the company, but also by its focus on innovation and new product ideas.

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