e-Freight: Multi-Modal Logistics Optimization
e-Freight optimizes the use of different transport modes for sustainable utilisation of freight transport resources. The e-Freight multi-modal logistics planning tools enable strategic and real-time planning of freight transport networks. The freight planning system uses a detailed operational model than takes into account constraints such as time windows, freight compatibility, access constraints, commercial agreements and resource availability.
Scheduling of inter-modal freight transport presents a very challenging optimization problem which cannot be addressed by conventional planning software. Each transport mode has its own benefits and constraints which need to be included in the optimization process:
- Ship & barge are low cost and low carbon footprint but slower and subject to unpredictable factors such as weather.
- Rail movements are faster and more regular but do not offer great flexibility.
- Trucks present the greatest flexibility but usually at a higher cost and larger impact on the environment.
The e-Freight real-time optimization approach brings together the different modes, enabling an integrated transport solution to be scheduled dynamically. As new transport orders are received the system dynamically updates transport schedules, balancing work across modes and suppliers. The e-Freight approach enables freight-forwarders, haulage companies and transport operators to optimize their operation while offering better service to their customers and reducing environmental impact.
e-Freight in Action
The e-Freight system is used in Valencia by China Shipping to optimize the allocation of container movements to different transport modes. The success of the project has led to MJC² winning the Containerisation International IT Innovation Award.