The idea of The Physical Internet was orginally proposed by Prof. Benoit Montreuil in 2011. The link to the original paper is in the Appendix section below. If you are not familiar with the concept, please refer the paper from Prof. Benoit below before continuing. Some additional useful links pertaining to the concept of the Physical Intranet are also in the appendix.
Unfortunately, the Physical internet is still being discussed as “A New Paradigm” in the world of Supply Chain research. If you search for papaers on this topic, you will see research papaers published as recently as May 2020, calling this theory a new paradigm (see appendix for links). There are annual conferences held to discuss the “Physical Internet of Things” but there is hardly anything to show in terms of real world implementation. The only company, that has made some “internal” effort is Amazon.
Implementing the true form of The Physical Internet means collaboration between companies across Industries to build a shared, common infrastructure. While the fact is that we may still be at least a decade away from it, I think the reason such an innovative idea did not generate the traction it deserved is because we keep thinking about implementing it “AS IS”. I think certain aspects of the idea suggested in Prof. Benoit’s paper can be leveraged in a piecemeal approach and still yield benefits.