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BONN: The Deutsche Post DHL Group has sold its Greenplan route optimisation software business via a buy-out by its management team CEO Clemens Beckmann and managing director Florian Merget.

Greenplan uses an algorithm developed by DHL in cooperation with the University of Bonn Mathematical Institute for last mile, road freight and field service management.

DHL says software features such as predicted traffic density, the optimal tour start, or overlapping districts to respect drivers’ experiences, have made it a valuable tool for eco-conscious customers’ route planning.

Beckmann said his company is making “a big impact in fighting climate change” while enabling a reduction in transport industry costs.

“With the management buyout the team will now accelerate the growth of [an] unique route planning solution provider,” commented DHL CCO Katja Busch. “[It] helps forwarders and customers with large fleets to optimize the utilization of their vehicles, to improve route planning, and ultimately reduce CO2 emissions by driving fewer kilometers.”

Last year Greenplan won the US$100,000 Amazon Last Mile Routing Research Challenge in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Transportation & Logistics.

Stephan Held of the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics and a member of the Greenplan development team at the University of Bonn commented: "The hype around machine learning means that nowadays one almost has to justify not using these methods in discrete optimization. For me, a key motivation was to demonstrate the strengths of optimization algorithms, especially in a machine learning competition, which is based on a combinatorial optimization problem."

Aimed at optimized last-mile package delivery planning, a total of 220 teams from 22 countries took part in the Amazon competition and 45 made it to the final round.

While remaining a long-term Greenplan customer, DHL says it does not consider the commercial scale-up of software start-ups to be a core activity.


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