Learn how the World Bank Group is helping countries with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find Out


Multi–Donor Trust Fund for Sustainable Logistics (MDTF–SL) Call for Proposals

February 12, 2015


The port at Tema, Ghana.

Photo: Jonathan Ernst / World Bank

  • Logistics is now recognized as a key driver of competitiveness and economic development.
  • To help improve sustainable logistics practices in the developing world, the World Bank established the first MDTF-SL in September 2013 with the support of the government of the Netherlands.
  • The MDTF-SL funds activities on strategic themes in sustainable logistics that benefit low income and developing countries.

It is our pleasure to announce that after a competitive process, the MDTF-SL has selected 10 proposals from World Bank applicants to be funded during the next year. Half of these initiatives will directly benefit Low-Income Countries (LICs) and half of them will be focused on African nations.

Additionally, the MDTF-SL has endorsed eight proposals from renowned research institutions to proceed to the next review stage. This was the first time that the MDTF-SL opened the application process to external research institutions on Sustainable Logistics.

Shortlisted proposals were evaluated by a Selection Committee, composed of World Bank staff and an external professors in the field of logistics using the following criteria: relevance, impact and replicability, technical quality, innovativeness, feasibility, and budget.

2015 MDTF-SL Call for Proposals results: World Bank applicants

Urban Logistics and Port City Development

Albania - Feasibility of Virtual Supplier Networks in Albania - $300,000

Bangladesh - Sustainable and Efficient Logistics in Bangladesh - $300,000

Brazil - Online Retail and Changing Urban Logistics Patterns: Opportunities and Challenges - $300,000

Maghreb countries - Mediterranean Maritime Connectivity - $150,000

Agro Logistics

Haiti - Logistic Platforms for Agricultural Perishable Goods in Haiti - $300,000

India - Rural Roads and Agro Logistics for Increased Prosperity - $250,000

Somalia - Agro Logistics for Economic Development in Somalia - $300,000

Zambia - Improving Smallholder Farmer Access to Irrigation and Knowledge Through an Agribusiness PPP - $200,000

Green Logistics

Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, DRC, Zambia and Kenya - Reviving Green Inland Water Transport in Africa - $270,000

2015 MDTF-SL Call for Proposals results: External applicants

Urban Logistics and Port City Development

Colombia, Ecuador and Peru - City Logistics Policy Toolkit: A Study of Three Latin American Cities - $195,000

India - Megacity Logistics: Metrics, Tools and Measures for Sustainability - $280,000

Cote d'Ivoire - Toward a Sustainable Agro Logistics in Developing Countries: The Case of Cocoa's Supply Chain and Networks in San Pedro, Cote d'Ivoire - $300,000

Agro Logistics

Ghana - Developing an Efficient Logistics Network for Fresh Horticultural Produce in Ghana - $300,000

India - Reduction of Food Losses by Exploiting New Short Sea Opportunities of Urban Food Supply Chains - $300,000

Nigeria - Improving Inland Transport Modalities for Vegetables and Food - $300,000

Green Logistics

Thailand and Vietnam - Applying a Greenhouse Gas Accounting Framework - $180,000

South Africa, Namibia and Botswana - Lean and Green World - $300,000


The Government of the Netherlands and the World Bank have established the MDTF–SL with an objective to assist developing countries as follows:

To address climate–related and local environmental impacts caused by the transport of goods and enhance the competitive positioning of exports in global value chains that are monitored for their carbon footprints;

To address urban congestion resulting from the distribution of goods and improve the sustainable design and operations of port cities; and

To strengthen food security and improve competitiveness of agricultural exports through the sustainable reduction of logistics costs and food losses along the supply chain.

Call Summary

The MDTF–SL will fund activities that deliver practical solutions, methodologies, and logistics innovations that benefit low–and middle–income countries on three strategic themes in sustainable logistics:

Agro–logistics: increase the efficiency of supply chains to reduce food losses and improve the traceability and profitability of agricultural products.

Green supply chains: “green” supply chains, develop transport corridors and improve logistics services to minimize the carbon footprint and greenhouse gases associated with the delivery of goods.

Urban logistics and port–city development: improve retail distribution of goods within cities to diminish urban congestion or improve the sustainable design and operation of port cities.    

The following types of activities are eligible for financing through the MDTF–SL: (i) Capacity building, technical assistance and training; (ii) Policy analysis, research and diagnostics; (iii) knowledge management and dissemination; (iv) Workshops and conferences; (v) Data collection and development of analytical tools; (vi) Information (electronic) Systems for network building and knowledge sharing. 

Research activities may be proposed and implemented by World Bank staff or external award recipients.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Proposals must clearly address a challenge associated with one of the three strategic themes above: Food losses (agro-logistics); carbon footprint and greenhouses gases (green logistics); urban congestion and port-city sustainability (urban logistics and port-city development). No more than two projects per country will be approved for support per year. Projects may receive maximum support of up to US$300,000 to be funded for up to one year, though exceptional cases for longer timeframes may be considered with justification.

Eligible external applicants (outside the World Bank) should be research or academic institutions with demonstrated experience in the area of logistics:

They should have carried out 2 activities in the past 5 years of a similar nature.

They should have had a turnover over the past 3 years of at least US$500,000.

Projects will be scored based on the following criteria:

Government support: Proposals must demonstrate a specific need as well as demand for research or commitment of a government unit to support the proposed initiative. Government support should be validated by endorsement of the relevant government unit (e.g., ministry, local government unit, or agency) via direct participation and/or documentation of support (e.g., expression of interest letter).

Replicability: A significant share of points in the scoring schedule will be allocated to proposals actively developing methodologies and tools to be replicated in other LICs.

Leverage: Proposals with matching funds or additional funding will get additional points in the final score.

Feasibility: Proposals should demonstrate feasibility with respect to generating results within the funding time frame.

Clarity of objectives and research approach: Proposals will be evaluated for the clarity, specificity, and general organization of the objectives, approaches, methodologies, and activities proposed.

Soft copy (Microsoft Word) proposals in the MDTF-SL template (download proposal form here) can be submitted via email to dmarcelo@worldbank.org. Only those proposals submitted during the call period will be eligible for funding.

Selection Process and Timeline

This call for proposals will be open until Friday, April 10, 2015, 18:00 Washington, D.C. time for World Bank applicants and until Friday, May 8, 2015, 18:00 Washington, D.C. time for external applicants (outside The World Bank). Upon closing, proposals will be reviewed by an MDTF–SL selection committee comprised of practitioners, academics, and administrators with expertise in the three thematic areas. Proposals will be evaluated according to the criteria listed above, alignment with the objectives and priorities of the MDTF–SL, and positioning within a balanced portfolio of sustainable logistics projects.

Notice: Due to an overwhelming response to the 2015 Call for Proposals, we have decided to extend the evaluation period. The additional time will allow the evaluation committee sufficient time to carefully review all applications. We will update applicants as soon as a new announcement date is decided. Thank you for your patience.


For additional information, please contact Darwin Marcelo, MDTF–SL Coordinator, dmarcelo@worldbank.org