Dutch logistics 2040: designed to last

This report considers how the logistics sector can help the top sectors chemicals, hi-tech, agrifood and horticulture to make a successful transition to circular economy.
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(The on-screen text "The Council for the Environment and Infrastructure presents a film about opportunities for Dutch logistics on the way to a circular economy" appears against a pale blue background. An animation. Coloured strands twist together to form a cable. Voice-over:)


VOICE-OVER: Think of the economy as a cable made up of different sectors.

(The cable is in a straight line.)

Top sectors such as high tech, chemicals and agrifood
together create a strong economy.

("Today's economy" is written above the cable.)

Products enter today's economy as raw materials
and generally end up as waste, designed to be dumped.
The growing demand for products leads to scarcity
and even the generation of more waste.

(The multicoloured cable starts bending.)


In times of need, how can we make ends meet and stay strong?

(The cable becomes a circle.)

The Council for the Environment and Infrastructure
offers a preview of our future economy,
a circular economy enabled by strong Dutch logistics.

(The circle slowly tilts.)

In a circular economy, products do not simply end up as waste,
they are dealt with in a smarter way.

(A man fits a washing machine.)

New business models are developed
in which companies remain the owner of the product
throughout its entire life cycle.

(The man repairs the machine in 2020.)

As a result, they continue to have access to precious resources.
Products are no longer designed to be dumped but designed to last.
Makes sense, doesn't it?

(The coloured cable.)

That means logistic flows are changing.
Near-sourcing is increasing around the world.
The customer doesn't own a product that was made in China
but consumes a local service and has individual preferences.


(The EU's blue flag with yellow stars.)

As a result, time to deliver becomes increasingly important.
Manufacturers move closer to consumers to retain control over the chain
and more easily anticipate the wishes of the customer.
The rise in service logistics, return logistics and recycling
provides new challenges and opportunities for the logistics sector.
Dutch logistics can play a prominent role in this.
The Council therefore recommends the development of Rotterdam
as the circular hub of Europe.

("Logistics" is written on a pale yellow strand in the cable.)


More transport movements will occur at the local level.
Consumers shop in virtual stores rather than physical ones
and more services are rendered than products sold.
Transport movements increase due to online orders,
recycling, services and return flows.
The result? More road congestion and emission.

(One van leaves with lots of boxes, not lots of vans with a few.)


Good management and collaboration within an area
constitute a solution to this problem.

(The van drives on.)

The Council recommends the use of innovative tendering for city logistics.

(The van delivers a box and receives a garbage bag in return. "Agri-food" is written on a green strand in the cable and "sugar beet" on a tractor's trailer.)



The circular economy requires us to reconsider the full life cycle of a product.

(A beet is processed.)

It is essential to use the entire supply chain as a starting point,
rather than all the separate links.

(A mound of sugar.)

The Council recommends rethinking the entire supply chain,
including the use of what was formerly considered waste.

(Sugar beets are processed and then transported. "Chemicals" is written on a purple strand in the cable.)


The clustering of companies that complement one another
makes the exchange of residual flows easier in a circular economy.

(A small group of companies form a cluster.)

The Council therefore advises the active stimulation of integrated clusters.

(Clusters in the Netherlands.)

To summarise, it's up to the business community
to capitalise on these new opportunities.
And it's up to the Dutch government
to help the logistics sector facilitate the circular economy.
The Council for the Environment and Infrastructure
recommends the following: The development of Rotterdam
into the circular hub of Europe.

(Next to the cable is a van full of boxes.)

The use of innovative tendering for city logistics.
Active stimulation of integrated clusters.

(A cluster of companies.)

Rethinking entire supply chains,
including the use of what was formerly considered waste.

(The multicoloured cable, shaped in a circle, rotates.)


This preview offered a glimpse into the future of our economy and logistics.
The Council for the Environment and Infrastructure
foresees a circular economy filled with new opportunities
for the Dutch logistics sector.

(On-screen text: Dutch logistics 2040: designed to last. Rli. For the full report please visit www.rli.nl.)


The analysis conducted for the advice shows that the top sectors hightech, chemicals and agri-food are developing towards a circular economy. This presents new opportunities and challenges for the top sector logistics. The advice contains recommendations to the Dutch government and business community.

On the 8th of October 2013, the Council presented its advice 'Dutch logistics 2040: designed to last' during a symposium in Madurodam, The Hague. Secretary- General of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment Siebe Riedstra accepted the advice.

The main recommendations are:

  • The Council advises municipal and provincial authorities to stimulate spatial clustering between the sectors hightech, chemicals and agri-food. This can be implemented in practice by earmarking certain locations for specific clusters and/or by formulating conditions for the (re)use of energy, heat and waste. The State is advised to promote the reuse of waste as raw materials for new products by eliminating obstacles in the legislation pertaining to waste processing and by introducing 'raw materials passports'
  • The Council recommends the State to devise a programme with Rotterdam as the circular hub of Europe and study the effects of the circular economy on the cargo types and volumes coming into and leaving Europe via the port of Rotterdam in that respect
  • The Council recommends municipalities to establish uniform requirements in terms of liveability, safety and accessibility. Implementation must be left up to the sector through innovative tendering. The State is advised to enter into administrative agreements with decentralised government bodies regarding the harmonisation of these local goal-oriented regulations
  • The Council recommends the business sector to develop integrated chains for the complex life cycles of each product by taking into account repairs, reuse and exchange of parts in the design of products; by focusing on a maximum life cycle and optimum recyclability. And by developing marketing concepts to adjust the behaviour of consumers: product, service, usage and return must be in line with one another.