castle_logoCASTLE was born to answer regional needs to improve SMEs logistics policies. It relies on a solid past cooperation among ten partners in Italy, Poland, Greece, Slovenia, Spain, Germany, Hungary & Austria, especially developed in Interreg initiatives.The Acronym CASTLE stands for “Cooperation Among SMEs Toward Logistic Excellence”. The CASTLE objectives and ratio are rooted in past research & study activities on the regional logistics EU status and perspectives, which elected SMEs logistics networking as a priority intervention area for public policies. In fact EU regions strongly base their future economic competitiveness on SMEs and on their ability to face new globalised production and market imperatives, which impose to manage scattered supply flows, to face the requirements of flexibility and capillarity, to integrate the value chain. Logistics is the oil and a strategic tool in SMEs‘ economic machine and in regions‘ sustainable development, as its efficiency impacts on SMEs market presence and on the environment.
Nevertheless SMEs systems lack logistics innovation & training and rely on SMEs individual logistics organisational models, mainly based on all-road transport solutions. CASTLE creates an operational matrix of best practices & experiences exchange for the development of SMEs logistics public policies which can shorten the divide between transport & logistics effectiveness vs environmental protection & energy saving (win-win policy making in a regional merging of the Lisbon and Gothenburg agendas). CASTLE improves policy making through the surveying, analysis, exchange & transfer of best practices, the creation of a new regional policy tool usable by policy makers and joint partners policy making exercises (EU Transfer Forum). These activities are also triggered on a bottom-up approach in terms of logistics governance consolidation, thanks to the set up of Regional Forums on Logistics which bring SMEs logistics needs to policy makers on the base of the triple-helix principle.

CASTLE’s “policy-learning” matches more & less experienced regions and improves policy makers skills on 4 fundamental innovation topics:

  1. strengthening the logistics supply & the logistics industry
  2. improving the logistics demand in the production systems (industrial areas & clusters)
  3. strengthening logistics training for SMEs systems
  4. institutional & governance consolidation in logistics, public-private cooperation in policies set up.

An ongoing best practices capitalisation, dialogue and transfer among the partners and with other EU regions is established also thanks to a specific enlarged transfer programme which targets 40 EU regions. CASTLE mixes training, ICT, industrial & economic, transport public actions to create a new SMEs logistics policy cross-sectorial approach to set up and improve SMEs logistics clustering and networking and increase regional competitiveness and sustainable development.

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