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The aim of the project "SmartPark-City-Hubs and Virtual Infrastructure" (SPaCiH) is the prototypical and pre-competitive development of a network of SmartPark-City-Hubs, which contributes to a reduction of delivery traffic, an acceleration of the transport of goods and an increase in sustainability not only on the last mile, but also in the preceding regional supply ("penultimate mile"), by using alternative means of transport. The development and implementation of a business model based on this approach is carried out in a participatory manner by involving the identified relevant stakeholders in the development process using the method of a "Living Lab". The consortium will publish the results in a guideline for action. The study region is the Lower Lower Rhine and the Western Ruhr Area in the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).

A SPaCiH is a logistics hub/park located outside the city, which is characterized by the settlement of value-added activities in addition to the logistical handling and bundling function, in the region for the region. The project aims to develop an optimal SmartPark-City-Hub structure for NRW. The SPaCiHs are to be linked with each other by rail and inland waterway. In the SPaCiH, goods are to be bundled by means of new business cooperations and shifted to sustainable modes of transport on the last mile. Transport demands between companies are to be organised by means of a new digital platform as a virtual infrastructure and physically handled in the SPaCiH. The SPaCiHs will be operated by private or semi-public companies that provide buildings, personnel, vehicles and services (e.g. repair services). The SPaCiH is intended to create new added value and to provide a flexible infrastructure for new business models of city supply.

In addition to the University of Duisburg-Essen, with the Center for Logistics and Transport and the Chair of Transport Systems and Logistics, the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences (project coordination), the Ruhr University Bochum and Sysplan Gesellschaft für Logistiksystemplanung GmbH are involved as partners. Other associated partners include the District of Wesel and the City of Krefeld, DeltaPort GmbH & Co. KG (Wesel), duisport AG (Duisburg), Rheinhafen Krefeld (Krefeld) and the Start-up Heuremo UG (Duisburg).

Project funding is provided within the framework of the operational program of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in North Rhine-Westphalia for the period 2014-2020 with co-financing by the Ministry of Transport of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia. The total funding comprises state funds totaling about 650,757 EUR and subsidies from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounting to around 866,575 EUR. The project will run from 1.9.2020 - 31.12.2022.

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