Supported by:

German British Forum


Prof. Alan McKinnon, Kühne Logistics University

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Logistics 4.0: its Implications for the logistics labour market and future skill requirements.

Logistics 4.0 has become the collective term for a range of technologies that will transform the labour requirements of logistics over the next few decades.

It includes digitalization, cloud computing, big data, the internet of things, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, crowdshipping and the automation of transport, terminals and materials handling operations.   In reviewing the possible labour impacts of these developments it is important to consider the current state of the logistics labour market worldwide. This has been investigated in a recent study undertaken by Kühne Logistics University for the World Bank. The results of this study will be summarized and form the basis of some predictions about future skill requirements in logistics and the need for recruitment and training programmes to adapt. Some of these programmes are failing to meet current industry needs and will have to be expanded, upgraded and refocused to meet the demands of Logistics 4.0 at different occupational levels.

The KLU will be presented as an example of an educational innovation preparing students for leadership roles in logistics. Founded in Hamburg in 2010, it has rapidly built up strong teaching and research capabilities and, through its student and faculty recruitment, its business and governmental connections and partnering with other universities, has acquired a global reach. As an institution specializing in logistics it aims to prepare students for the formidable technical and managerial challenges they will be facing during a career in this sector.

Alan McKinnon is Professor of Logistics in the Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. He was founder and director of the Logistics Research Centre at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh until January 2012 and is now a professor emeritus of this university. He has held visiting professorships in China, Malaysia, Sweden, South Africa and the UK. A graduate of the universities of Aberdeen, British Columbia and London, he has been researching and teaching in freight transport / logistics for over 35-years and has published extensively in journals and books on many different aspects of the subject. Professor McKinnon has been an adviser to several governments, parliamentary committees and international organisations, including the OECD, the World Bank, the United Nations and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

He was chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Logistics and Supply Chain Council and is currently a member of its Council on the Future of Mobility. He was a member of the European Commission’s High Level Group on Logistics, and, until recently, was chairman of the Transport Advisory Group of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme. In addition to his public sector work, Professor McKinnon has been a consultant to numerous companies and trade associations. He is a Fellow of the European Logistics Association and Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. He is also a recipient of the CILT’s highest distinction, the Sir Robert Lawrence Award.