Aiming for a radical sustainability improvement, the Physical Internet has the potential of revolutionizing the fields of material handling, logistics, transportation and facilities design. It exploits the enabling concept of standardized, modular and smart containers as well as the universal interconnectivity of logistics networks and services. Its underlying paradigm shift creates a tremendous breakthrough innovation opportunity for the material handling and facility logistics community in terms of equipment, systems and facility design and operation. This paper provides a primer overview of a key subset of the physical elements serving as the foundation of the Physical Internet infrastructure, classified in three categories: containers, movers and nodes. Each element introduced is characterized and illustrated to enable visualization of their innovative nature. The paper helps uncover a wide variety of potent research avenues.
Proceedings of the International Material Handling Research Colloquium
Montreuil, Benoit; Meller, Russell D.; and Ballot, Eric, "Towards a Physical Internet: the Impact on Logistics Facilities and Material Handling Systems Design and Innovation" (2010). 11th IMHRC Proceedings (Milwaukee, Wisconsin. USA – 2010). 40.