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A Major European Testing of Actual Freight Operations

Objective

The main objective of the work is to prove the applicability in real conditions of a set of RTI applications in Road Freight Operations (RFO) and set up the framework, with technical specifications and guide-lines, for their development and dissemination at pan-European level, with special emphasis on the problems and requirements of the small and medium size operators (SMEs). The specific objectives of the project can be stated as follows:

To set up in a real working environment some of the Road Freight Operations (RFO) activities that were found to be of top priority in the previous DRIVE work, mainly the strategy setting of the EUROFRET project and to a lesser extent of the FLEET project. These activities fall under the two broad categories of Mobile Data Communications (MDC) and (EDI)
To evaluate their operational, technical and economic performance in actual conditions.
To establish a framework for validation, improvement and integration of the results to be achieved by the work.
To set up functional standards for the development of commercial systems that truly satisfy user needs.
To suggest final functional requirements for the development of the desired RTI systems for RFO activities, taking into account the European capabilities and needs.
To look for easy and cost effective solutions for the adoption of the new RTI systems by Small and Medium size (SMEs) transport enterprises.
The applicability in real conditions of a set of road/rail transport informatics (RTI) applications in road freight operations (RFO) is under assessment and the framework is under assessment with technical specifications and guidelines, for development and dissemination at a pan European level. There is special emphasis on the problems and requirements of the small and medium size operators (SME).

The work completed so far encompasses 4 broad areas: the feasibility of the pilots, the definition of their technical and organizational aspects, the design of the evaluation methodology and the installation of the equipment in the trucks and at the home base.

The feasibility of the mobile data communications (MDC) pilots has been straightforward to prove, while that of the electronic data interchange (EDI) pilots was completed after proving the feasibility from the shipper's point of view as well. The definition of the pilots took into account all factors that might affect their performance. The MDC pilots are now under way while the definition of the EDI pilots is proceeding with the specification of the parameters of an integrated MDC-EDI system. The pilots are evaluated taking into account both business and socioeconomic considerations. A cost benefit analysis will be complemented with methods especially designed to address the qualitative and nonmonetary effects of the technology (eg compatibility analysis, and utility value analysis. Strength, weakness, opportunities, threats (SWOT) analysis and stated preference analyses will assist the strategic assessment of the technologies. As for the installation of the equipment, the MDC systems have been installed and the MDC pilots have started, while the EDI equipment is being currently installed.
Technical Approach

Eleven different pilot applications are planned, six on MDC applications and five on EDI with emphasis on the utilization of the MDC data. These are planned with operators from 5 countries, transporting a variety of products along different routes. All the routes are along a NW-SE corridor which provides a test area where single-mode and intermodal freight operations can be tested, either in cross border or long distance transport, under various geographic conditions. In addition, with the collaboration of CEMAT, the Italian combined transport operator, and the assistance of the COMBICOM project the tracing of unaccompanied unit loads will proceed as a separate, twelfth pilot.

The methodology of the study follows four main stages: Feasibility, Application, Evaluation and Recommendations. In the first stage, Feasibility, the state of the art of existing applications will be examined in relation to the systems selected for testing. In the application stage, the systems will be developed and installed, their operation will be monitored and relevant data will be recorded. In the Evaluation stage the results/impacts of the pilots will be evaluated in terms of their technical, economic, commercial, social and organisational aspects. In the last stage, the results will be generalized in order to include impacts under different scenarios while strategies for the systems implementation in the SMEs and governments will be worked out. Finally recommendations on functional specifications, and implementation aspects will be made.

Key Issues

During the course of the project, the following road freight activities will be tested:

Commination with driver/vehicle and other MDC activities, EDI between shipper/operator and EDI with focal points as combined with MDC and unit load tracing. Rv testing these operation in actual working conditions along predetermined routes and combination of modes, types of products, etc., the project will be able to formulate and recommend functional standards for the development of commercial systems that truly satisfy user needs.

Other issues that are currently being investigated include: the interfacing of system output with the operator's administrative, planning and scheduling software, the definition of the EDIFACT message subset that will be used in the pilots, and the integration of the MDC and EDI applications in one platform.

Finally, the development of an appropriate evaluation methodology that takes into account both the quantitative and qualitative effect of the systems in pivotal to this project.

Expected Achievements

The effectiveness of the new RTI systems in Small and Medium size transport enterprises will be enhanced. Potential impediments to the easy and successful adoption by them of the most advanced TRI technology will also be defined.
The main advantage for the transport operators participating in the pilots, is that they get to know and implement an advanced technology, that will potentially revolutionize their way of doing business. Besides being at the forefront of new developments they have the opportunity to gain real benefits such as cost reductions and improved control of the logistics chain. Other benefits mentioned include: real time fleet monitoring, monitoring of unaccompanied loads, time saving, and fuel, truck breakdown and administrative cost reductions.
To contribute to a Community Policy toward the improvement of the efficiency of freight transportation. At the same time to protect SME in the transport domain, to properly operate in the scope of fair competition.
To contribute to European (Internationally accepted) standards and specifications permitting the development of a universal environment of RTI based freight transport systems and their interoperability of service, thus promoting European industry and competitiveness.

Topic(s)

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Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

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Coordinator

TRADEMCO CONSULTANTS
Address
6,Kerasountos Street
11528 Athens
Greece
 

Participants (14)

ALMATRANS S.A.
Greece
Address
81,Notara
18510 Piraeus
 
ARISTOTLES UNIV. OF THESSALONIKI
Greece
Address

54006 Thessaloniki
 
C. VAN HEEZIK B.V.
Netherlands
Address

3600 AB Maarssen
 
DCE NEDERLAND BV
Netherlands
Address
747-751,Prinsegracht
1017 XJ Amsterdam
 
IBM BELGIUM
Belgium
Address
41,Sq. Victoria Regina
1210 Brussels
 
INERFERRIES TRAILER SERVICE SA
Luxembourg
Address
148,Beezebierg
7650 Heffingen
 
INTELLTECH S.A.
Greece
Address
1,Anapiron Polemou
11521 Athens
 
Intercity Trucks Ltd
United Kingdom
Address
Lympne Industrial Estate
CT21 4LT Hythe
 
MAKIOS TRANSPORTS S.A.
Greece
Address
80,Giannitson
54627 Thessaloniki
 
NETHERLANDS ECONOMIC INSTITUTE
Netherlands
Address

3006 AD Rotterdam
 
PLANET SA
Greece
Address
64,Louise Riencourt
11523 Athens
 
SIMAC SYSTEMS B.V.
Netherlands
Address

5500 AH Veldhovem
 
TRANSPORT MONDIA
Belgium
Address
49,Ave. George Truffaut
4020 Liege
 
University of Westminster
United Kingdom
Address
35 Marylebone Road
NW1 5LS London