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Tracking, Tracing and Monitoring of Goods in an
Inter-modal and Open Environment

The objective of Multitrack is to develop and market a European service that enables different players to monitor, track and locate a shipment in the most transparent way possible throughout the whole logistic chain, whatever the means of transport used (road, rail and sea).

Setting the Scene

A key problem of intermodal transport is the difficulty of tracking a load after its departure. It is normal to have different links in the logistic chain, and they are likely to be in several different countries. In addressing the problem or reporting incidents, information tends to become crossed. This leads to deterioration in the quality of service from both carriers and shippers.


The Multitrack concept was devised to address the problem and improve management of intermodal logistics chains. It was to provide an accurate time-stamp of the passage of the merchandise at different points along the chain.
The system has been designed to meet different end users' needs in terms of multi-level access classes, confidentiality and level of access to information for each class, and ease of use. To achieve its objectives, Multitrack uses standard communication protocols and a neutral Approach to tracking technology. Load data are delivered to end users' stations in a manner which is tailored to meet their needs and in accordance with their access profile. Position data are displayed either on a current or historical basis. To improve the usability of the information, tracking data are presented using a powerful Geographic Information System.
In terms of tracking technology, the initial implementation of Multitrack uses Intermec International vehicle and train tags and EutelTRACS satellite tracking terminals. The system is designed to interface with sensors that transmit cargo status data (e.g. temperature, shocks, and leaks). For transportation of loads such as the of hazardous or refrigerated goods, such a facility is considered of equal importance to positional data.

Results and Achievements

Although the project is not due to finish until May 31st 1999, initial validation results strongly indicate that the final system will meet its objectives. As part of the current implementation, some 275 Intermec tags have been fitted to 200 Walon transport vehicles and 75 Semat wagon trains, and 8 EutelTRACS' terminals fitted to 6 Walon trucks and 2 UECC boats. This installation will be used to track shipment of Honda cars manufactured in the UK and exported to Spain. So far the validation results have clearly demonstrated the ability of the system to track a whole consignment of Honda cars from Bristol (UK) to Port of Santander (SP) and onto mainland Spain via road and rail

Currently the Multitrack system is in the process of being tested to validate tracking individual cars and presenting the information in a modular format to different classes of users.

Conclusions and plans for the future

In conclusion, the consortium members are extremely pleased with the achievements of the Multitrack development, in particular the decision early on in the development phase to adopt the Internet protocol as the access mechanism to system database. That Approach not only makes the system universally accessible, but it also requires a relatively small incremental investment on part of potential clients to make use of its facilities.
Looking into the future, the partners are acutely aware that there are other key tracking technologies that have yet not been integrated in the Multitrack System. The most notable ones are GSM cellular system, newer satellite services based on Low/Mid Earth Orbit (LEO and MEO), and third-generation mobile technology which will be available in the near future. For this purpose the consortium members are assessing the viability of launching a second phase of the project which can address those issues.

Contact Details

Project Coordinator:
Ronnie Dallal
Tel: +44 1582 405 678
Fax: +44 1582 454 828
E-mail: (email removed)
Research Area: Telematics Applications For Transport
Timescale: 01.01.96 - 31.05.99
Keywords: Tracking, Tracing, Monitoring, Intermodal transport, User requirements, Validation, Analysis, Just-in-Time transport, Transport of dangerous goods, Security, Access procedures, Load identification, Information infrastructure, Pricing
Key Project Participants:
Strategy Analytics (UK)
Atos -ODS (FR)
Atos-ODS (ES)
Autoridad Portuaria de Santander (ES)
Eutelsat (FR)
FI Systems (FR)
Instituto de Automatica Industrial (ES)
Intermec International (FR)
Ronda Grupo Consultor (ES)

Public Deliverables

D 2.1 Multitrack-Tracking,tracing and monitoring of goods in an intermodal and open environment

D 2.2 Promotional action 2

D 2.3 Promotional action 3

D 2.5 Co-ordination Meeting with Other Consortium

D 2.6 Co-ordination Meeting with Other Consortium

D 50.1 Exploitation Plan

D 1.6 Final Report