Intelligent Goods in the Intermodal Freight System
A Bjorgen Sund, T Foss, O Bakaas, SINTEF, NO
Implementation of intelligent cargo will enable seamless interconnectivity between actors and activities in the intermodal freight system by making more effective transfer and provide a basis for improved collaboration in the logistics network.
Freight systems involve activities and actors from many different sectors in the field of logistics and transport. Preliminary findings indicate that the information exchanged between the actors in the freight logistics and transport networks is often based on manual updating of information. The implementation of intelligent cargo will enable better differentiation between cargo concerning weight, size and number of goods as well as automatic updating of information in real time. This creates a potential for improving efficiency through better information quality. The demand for more advanced transport and logistics services will increase for supporting information sharing across organisational borders and for developing collaboration between actors in the logistics network.
One of the main objectives in the EU strategy for transport is to move more freight from road to rail and sea, by developing efficient and profitable intermodal logistics network. In the freight network road transport is a necessity for bringing the goods to its final destination, thus the terminal handling is required. Rail and sea born freight transport must always be in combination with road transport to be able to serve any type of customer.
Due to all the actors who take part in performing intermodal transport the interchange between the legs in transport chains are crucial for making intermodal transport a success and for improving the interoperability between the transport modes. By the emerging concept of 'Intelligent cargo', which means cargo that can communicate with different users to exchange transport related information along the supply chain, the interchange may be easier to achieve. The intelligent cargo concept involves technologies for cargo identification, status tracking and embedded logic and is the carrier of information that may be utilised by involved actors in the freight systems.
The idea behind the INTRANS research project (2008-2011), supported by The Research council of Norway, is to enable a fully automated, multimodal and environmentally friendly freight transport system, where the cargo find the most efficient way through the supply chain.
The INTRANS objective aims to create an intelligent, efficient and safe multi-modal cargo transportation system through:
- Use of sensor and data capturing technology and system architecture in order to make the cargo find their own path through the system.
- New concepts and models for freight transport planning and management which utilise real time information for cargo to find their path in the system.
- New solutions for storing, transferring, processing and visualizing of real time information in the network.
- New concepts and control principles based on real-time information and automated decision support.
- New collaboration and integration models throughout the freight logistics network.
Based on a literature review and interaction with industrial partners within the freight and logistics domain the paper is oriented towards adoption and development of intelligent cargo in multimodal freight systems. Collaboration have been made with a large number of organizations involving representatives from rail operators, forwarders, freight customer, transport authorities and suppliers of IT related equipment. By on-site inspections and through interviews with the freight customer and the freight forwarder some challenges with intermodal freight were identified. The challenge concerning information exchange and sharing was examined during workshops with participants from the transport and logistics industry and academia.
The final paper will describe how intelligent cargo may support transport in the intermodal chain and how this will have an impact on business models. Intermodal transport is like a race where each leg depends on each other. The individual operator's role in the intermodal logistics network is to facilitate the next leg for the next transport provider. Intelligent cargo will support and enable seamless interconnectivity between the actors and activities both in the transport leg and also through the terminal. Intelligent cargo will make more effective transfer in the chain and provide a basis for improved collaboration between the actors in the logistics network and make intermodal transport more reliable from the sender to the receiver.
Association for European Transport