Hanken School of Economics, a prestigious institution renowned for its expertise in economics and business administration and part of ReMuNet’s consortium, has recently featured ReMuNet project in its Hanken magazine. Hanken, with its storied 110-year history, boasts the distinction of holding the “triple crown” of accreditations – EQUIS, AACSB, and AMBA – a prestigious recognition achieved by only one percent of business schools worldwide.

Click here to visit HANKEN’s website and access the magazine.

Here is the article translated into English:

The ReMuNet project (Resilient Multimodal Transport Network) focuses on some of Europe’s major transport routes: from the Netherlands to the Black Sea, along the Rhine and Danube, and from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea.

“We want to find alternative routes that are both more sustainable and resilient, for various modes of transport,” says Ketki Kulkarni, a postdoctoral researcher at Hanken’s Humlog Institute.

In recent years, Europe has experienced disruptions caused by events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, the war in Ukraine, and climate change.

“People and goods need to move, so it’s essential that we continue finding alternatives. The ultimate goal of our project is to deliver an AI-based collaboration platform where various stakeholders, such as logistics users or anyone wanting to get from one place to another, can log in and find an alternative route,” says Kulkarni.

Major Challenges Kulkarni points out that disruptions are very rarely the result of a single activity. In Central Europe, for instance, recurring summer floods in Slovenia and Austria lead to devastating infrastructure damage, hindering transport and affecting supply chains.

“Heavy rains are a recurring factor, but our root cause analysis reveals problems caused by humans. Construction in low-lying areas, ignoring weather warnings, and insufficient risk assessments before investing in logistics contribute to the problem. Naturally, climate change is an underlying cause, but some political decisions could have prevented this,” says Kulkarni.

According to Kulkarni, we also face other major challenges. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 include a transition to electric vehicles, but the lack of supporting infrastructure is a problem.

“Some countries require a certain percentage of the vehicle fleet to be electric by a certain year, but they have not focused on improving the location of charging points or addressing issues related to battery waste. This applies not only to electric cars but also to buses, trucks, and other heavy vehicles that all require similar infrastructure. If we do not have enough time by 2030 to develop not only the vehicles but also the infrastructure, we will cause more disruptions due to poor planning.”

Aging Railway Infrastructure Another challenge is the aging railway infrastructure in Central Europe. Despite rail being a low-carbon alternative, frequent mechanical failures and delays deter customers, making it difficult to move away from traditional road transport.

“Most of the railway infrastructure is both old and heavily used, so it’s not easy to halt operations for necessary upgrades and maintenance,” says Kulkarni.

External factors such as the war in Ukraine and fluctuating energy prices also have an impact.

“Governments must provide political support to ensure that people switching to rail transport can rely on a certain level of service and be protected against price fluctuations.”

Target groups for the ReMuNet project include decision-makers, infrastructure and transport providers, and humanitarian organizations, but Ketki Kulkarni notes that disruptions are a global problem.

“We are all strongly interconnected, whether we are talking about climate change, pandemics, El Niño, or a blockage in the Panama Canal. We cannot think ‘oh, it’s not my problem’ – everything is everyone’s problem.”