Sönke Behrends’ research is altogether outstanding. So says logistics giant DB Schenker, who recently presented him with the DB Schenker Award, one of the most coveted international scientific prizes in the logistics industry, with a cash prize of 10,000 euros and an additional 5,000 euros for the supervising professor Johan Woxenius.
Behrends’ thesis, “Urban freight transport sustainability – the interaction of urban freight and intermodal transport”, had great appeal for the jury when the international DB Schenker Award was recently given out. In the thesis, presented just over a year ago, Sönke concluded that in order to achieve a sustainable transport system where most goods are transported by rail instead of road, rail transport and urban planning must be considered as an interacting whole, rather than as two separate operations. One of his concrete ideas is that rail terminals must be moved to the outskirts of cities.
Congratulations, Sönke! You’ve won the DB Schenker Award for your research. How does it feel?
– Thanks, it feels wonderful! I’m really glad, and it is a great honour that the jury, which consists of three professors from different universities and one member of the board of DB Schenker, have chosen to commend my thesis in particular. This shows that my research has practical relevance for logistics companies at the same time as it maintains a high level of scientific quality. That’s exactly what you want to achieve with your research!
The DB Schenker Award is an international prize, and everyone in the world who has written a thesis on logistics and transport can compete for it. Why did you, in particular, win?
– According to the jury, my thesis is a major practical contribution to logistics companies and government agencies, while at the same time it is of great benefit to the environment and society. In addition, the jury thinks that the thesis is distinguished by formal clarity and excellent readability.
What does the prize involve?
– They say the prize is one of the most important international honours there is in the logistics industry. It’ll be another feather in my cap on my CV and could be incredibly useful in the long term. In addition, the prize includes the sum of €10,000 and an additional 5,000 euros for my supervising professor Johan Woxenius.
It’s now been just over a year since you put forth the idea that rail terminals should be moved to the outskirts of cities if we’re to achieve a sustainable transport system – can you see any effects from decision-makers having listened to your advice?
– I know that my thesis has influenced the understanding of rail transport of at least one of our own politicians. He said his party had never thought of the negative effects that increased rail traffic implied for our cities, but that they’ll now take that into consideration in the future. I can also mention that my thesis has gotten a great deal of attention in the media, especially in Sweden and Germany but in other European countries as well.
Photo: Deutsche Bahn AG/Max Lautschläger