Freight systems and city logistics

Enabling highly efficient, integrated urban freight networks with reduced environmental impacts.

Railway yard at dusk, looking down on rows of parked freight trains

Our Physical Internet Lab is the Australian hub of a global research and development network that is transforming freight and logistic systems.

What is the Physical Internet Lab?

We apply concepts from internet data transfer to real-world shipping processes and the transfer of real goods. It is the smart interconnectivity of physical, digital and operational freight networks. Protocols standardise the information attached to the packaging of goods. This allows the information to be shared across platforms, and the goods to be moved in ways that optimise handling, storage and deliveries.

Why does it matter?

Increasing freight-related traffic is contributing to increased congestion, pollution, carbon emissions, traffic accidents and noise in urban areas. Improved connectivity across freight networks and new business models address these issues to help maintain the liveability of our cities. It will make our roads safer and improve the overall economics of freight systems.

It does this by:

  • Maximising the use of available carrying capacity
  • Optimising the fast and efficient delivery of goods
  • Minimising environmental impacts.

Our focus

  • Planning, designing, evaluating and trialling integrated freight systems
  • Designing networks to consolidate freight, better matching modes of transport with loads and roads
  • Identifying locations to optimise the capacity of transport hubs and links
  • Designing digital platforms that facilitate the sharing of freight resources by increasing the visibility of available capacity
  • Using gamification to help industry participants learn, experiment and test integrated freight systems.


  • City logistics and whole-of-freight costing and modelling
  • Data collection and integration
  • Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES) real-word research laboratory
  • Multi-modal network modelling and simulation.

Our partners

  • Australia Post
  • Bestrane
  • Bureau of Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Economics
  • Coca-Cola Amatil
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Fastway Couriers
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • ParisTech
  • Swinburne University
  • Toll Group
  • Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions