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The disruptive Multifunctional Container Transfer System, a seamless & horizontal transfer of containers - low cost, more efficient utilisation in cargo freight and with care for the environment

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - M-CTS (The disruptive Multifunctional Container Transfer System, a seamless & horizontal transfer of containers - low cost, more efficient utilisation in cargo freight and with care for the environment)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2020-04-30

Our M-CTS technology uses a disruptive hydraulic mechanism that enables seamless and horizontal transfer of a container between semi-trailer and train wagon (or vice-versa) 3 times faster than state-of-the-art (SoA) transfer technologies. The M-CTS has a multifunctional container body that can carry both gravel, sand, waste and pallets /parcels to support a vast variety of cargo, hence improving the efficiency of round-trip by 50% in lines where there are no return loads - M-CTS will seize unutilised capacity in current multimodal distribution networks or flow. Thanks to a unique walking floor embedded in the semitrailer, the M-CTS can unload an entire container carrying waste, grain, sand or other content, in less than 2 minutes. The seamless transfer between truck and train is the core to solve the limitations (i.e. efficient transhipment) and unlock the potential of the combined road/rail freight. The M-CTS system decreases OPEX in terms of fuel use and personnel, has 84% lower CAPEX for intermodal ports infrastructure and overall efficient use of space against SoA transfer technologies.

We have confirmed the commercial and economic viability of our M-CTS technology, developed a roadmap for technical improvements, and built a strategic business plan. The M-CTS project is the first crucial step to execute these plans and enter the container transfer market. We will technically advance the system to TRL8 and qualify the service in real-life operations within the Malmo - Antwerp route (or similar route), to reach TRL9.

The M-CTS project aim is to prototype, pilot and commercialise our cost-efficient, area-space efficient and fast multifunctional container transfer technology to enable a better utilisation of the current railway infrastructure by accommodating seamless and swift container transfer between truck and train. This will involve activities to: (a) mature our technology, (b) test and validate the matured technology by piloting the M-CTS systems, and (c) plan and prepare for the post-project launch of a commercial version within 2 years of the start of the M-CTS project. The aim is to deliver the first autonomous, single-operator container transfer system that can unload/load an entire train (i.e. 60 containers) in less than 2 hours and that can support different types of cargo.
The project activities are focused on optimising, piloting and validating, as well as achieving the commercialisation readiness of the M-CTS system. To arrive at a successful market launch, we have carried out the following set of technical and market-oriented innovation activities:

1. Technology maturation & final prototyping (reach TRL8): to deliver a fully functioning prototype at TRL8, ready for piloting in real-operating conditons: (1) Decrease overall weight and height of the C-unit, W-Unit and T-Unit by 10-15% and simplify construction process; (2) Integration and optimisation of the M-Unit by pairing the C-Unit with a multifunctional container body; (3) Recalculate the strenghts analysis of the M-CTS and deliver a new FEM analysis report for an optimsied technical manual on the M-CTS; (4) Manufacture of 8 M-units, 8 W-Units and 2 T-Units at TRL 8 ready for large scale piloting.

2. Commercialisation measure: Parallel to the technology maturation activities, implementation of market maturation activities to prepare for successful market launch. These activities include: (1) up/downstream supply chain consolidation, including stakeholder analysis; (2) continuous market and regulatory monitoring; (3) revision of our cost structure and pricing; (4) upscale our operational resources; (5) securing post-project investments; and (6) prepare a dissemination plan, including communications activities.
Our novelty revolves around our adapted approach to container transfer - especially pertaining to the horizontal movement of container for transfer from truck to train in 2 minutes and our seamless retrofitting approach for current existing assets (i.e. containers, semi-trailers, trains) - combined with a beyond SoA multifunctional container that can adapt its physical structure to hold different types of cargo and unload a container in under 2 minutes using an innovative walking floor concept. Our key differentiation features are lower CAPEX and OPEX requirements, lower infrastructure setup requirements for increased intermodal terminal creation, faster inter-modal container transfer, unique multifunctional container that can be unloaded in less than 2 minutes with our walking floor, and an integrated IT framework for container transfer management and monitoring. The final production cost and investment of the M-CTS system will be €95,920. This is based on the cost of manufacturing the M-CTS system (1 T, W & M-Unit) and support and assistance to install. Other container transfer solutions in EU currently have CAPEX of minimum €20m.

Main novelties and advantages of the M-CTS technology are:
• Lower CAPEX
• Simple concrete
• base
• terminal
• Lower OPEX
• Efficient use of space
• Horizontal transhipment
• Multifunctional container
• Walking floor

The M-CTS contributes to the following expected impacts for the FTI as outlined in the EIC Work Programme 2018-2020:
• Economic: The M-CTS enables substantial operational cost savings for the freight industry. The M-CTS required investment for a 60 units intermodal terminal is 84% cheaper than the required investment for a SoA intermodal terminal using vertical cranes or reach-stackers. (i.e. €20,720,000 vs €3,299,600 ). By implementing the M-CTS system, a client is saving approx. €8,000 a month (i.e. cost of renting a Reach Stacker) and 20 L. of diesel fuel daily equal to €10,321 a year.
• Technological and Industrial: The primary creation of growth and jobs from the implementation of the M-CTS, with major changes in the sector’s economic activity, will be in the freight industry, specifically in the road and rail sector and intermodal ports, where the M-CTS will improve cost efficiency and thus stimulate economic growth.
• Social: The project is expected to indirectly create a significant positive effect in terms of job creation in the region where the M-CTS system is deployed. It will lead to the creation and fixation of jobs for local truck drivers. These will be operating within a radius of about 50 km around the base terminals, benefiting from significantly better work conditions. This total indirect job creation is expected to reach 120 by 2025.
• Environmental: The M-CTS is a game-changing solution that directly addresses SDG 7 and SDG 9.4 regarding the intensity of industrial energy consumption related to greenhouse gas emissions. To evaluate the potential environmental impact of the modal shift proposed by the M-CTS technology, the expected impact on CO2 emissions from transporting one ton of goods from sender to recipient (Aalborg to Copenhagen) was calculated. This analysis concluded that there is significant potential for reducing the current CO2 emissions by 35% by shifting freight transportation from full road transportation to M-CTS approach.