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Visit to Amman

From November 29 to December 3, the German members of the JOINOLOG project team finally had the opportunity to visit Amman again and meet the Jordanian team members as well as other stakeholders and potential future partners. The long overdue trip, which had to be postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, gave the entire team a chance to get a better picture of the opportunities at hand, but also of the challenges ahead. 

The two equal project partners, the Amman-based German-Jordanian University (GJU) and the Frankfurt-based Research Center for Logistics at Fulda University of Applied Sciences (FUAS) conducted meetings throughout Amman, hosted a student workshop and visited the GJU campus in Madaba, 25 km south of the Jordanian capital.

At GJU’s main campus, the JOINOLOG team met with Dr. Ralf Rosskopf, the university’s Vice Dean for International Affairs, to discuss potential future JOINOLOG events at GJU, as well as regular collaborations on networking events aimed at linking academia and economy more closely. Dr. Rosskopf informed the JOINOLOG team of the ongoing development of research clusters at GJU, as well as the new Deanship of Innovation, Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship, which aims to support student-led start-ups even more in the future. Vice versa, the JOINOLOG team presented Dr. Rosskopf with its vision of holding regular “Industry Talks”, informal get-togethers that bring together academic experts and business leaders.

Following the fruitful exchange with Dr. Rosskopf, the JOINOLOG team met Ms. Britta Kaehler and Eng. Jamil AlKhatib from GJU’s Office for Industrial Links, as well as Dr. Nidal Shwawreh, the Dean of  Innovation, Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship, for a working meeting. The group held a lively discussion about a planned hackathon that JOINOLOG and GJU aim to organize in close cooperation in the second half of 2022 .

Finally, the JOINOLOG team moved to GJU’s campus in central Amman to hold a 60-minute student workshop. During the workshop, two groups of Masters students used the brainwriting method to narrow down the three most relevant current logistical challenges in Jordan. The results will be used as a basis for shaping the research agenda of JOINOLOG in future.

In addition to these meetings between different departments of the project’s two main stakeholders, GJU and HFD, the team also held several meetings with some of the leading experts in the field of logistics in Jordan. 

At HELP logistics, the team learned more about HELP’s activities on the ground in Amman, Jordan and in the wider region, while briefing them about JOINOLOG and its current status and plans for the future. Both sides identified several fields for potential future cooperation. In particular, HELP and JOINOLOG discussed how they could work together on the planned hackathon, but also beyond that, e.g. in the field of humanitarian logistics research.

At Maersk, the JOINOLOG team met Rakan Madi, country manager for Jordan and Iraq. Mr. Rakan emphasized that Maersk is fully supportive of the project and is very comfortable with the collaborative approach that the team seeks to pursue. He made valuable proposals for additional potential partners JOINOLOG should contact and, in return, appreciated JOINOLOG’s plans to hold “Industry Talks” and conduct webinars in the future. 

Finally, before returning to Germany, the JOINOLOG team met with the team of the Jordan Logistics Network (JLN). The two founders, Ismat Yassin and Majd Alasmar, have built  a virtual network of logisticians across the country over the last few years and have become the prime source for information for many industry personnel. JLN and JOINOLOG are determined to work closely together in the future to carry out activities across Jordan, such as a job fair or a series of workshops or webinars. 

In the only virtual meeting of the week, the JOINOLOG team met with its Project Advisory Board (PAB). In interesting and productive discussions among the board, important structural developments were suggested. The members of the PAB gave valuable input on the center’s strategic direction, which the project team will implement.

An extremely interesting and productive week lies behind the JOINOLOG team, bringing the logistics center for innovation closer to reality.