Rail Freight Optimization

Synchromodal Optimization for Rail Cargo

Everyone has heard about alternative modes of transport offering major benefits in terms of costs, reduced environmental impact and less congestion on roads.

There are complexities however: co-ordinating ship, rail, barge and truck movements is a major headache for anything other than the simplest combinations.

Many opportunities are missed - bear in mind that logistics planners have to cope with hundreds or thousands of freight movements per day.

The planner can ill afford to spend time hunting for the best solution for every single transport order. (Multi-modal logistics planning is a surprisingly complex optimization problem.)

MJC²'s synchromodal logistics optimization software tackles this problem by using artificial intelligence algorithms and real-time scheduling techniques to significantly speed up the planning of freight movements.

Success Stories

These algorithms have been applied to a number of major rail freight operations in Europe, with particular focus on increasing the utilisation and efficiency of the TEN-T corridors.

Mediterranean Corridor

Synchromodal logistics optimization algorithms were applied to freight movements coming through the ports of Barcelona, Algeciras and Valencia, working with freight operators DHL and Cosco to increase the volume of traffic on rail.

A significant modal shift to rail was identified, leading to cost savings of around 5-8% and corresponding reduction in GHG emissions of 10-15%.

Furthermore, the diversion of significant volumes of freight away from truck movements leads to significant reduction in congestion and queuing in the ports.

Orient - East Med Corridor

In the Orient - East Med case study the focus was on the use of real-time positional and loading information about the train and rail movements to increase end-to-end logistics efficiency.

Movements between the main port of Piraeus and destinations in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary were optimized.

The synchromodal logistics algorithms dynamically replan the multimodal operation in response to real-time information about delays or other issues, while the multi-stakeholder eco-system ensures that all actors in the supply chain stay informed about the current status.

Rhine-Alpine Corridor

During the CORE project, MJC² worked with Procter & Gamble and the European Shippers Council to develop resilience strategies for trans-European freight movements, especially from Northern Europe to Southern Europe and North Africa.

The Rhine-Alpine corridor provides important connections, but disruptions such as the Rastatt problems can have a major impact on the supply chain.

Synchromodal optimization allows the shipper and their freight forwarder to collaborate on developing resilience strategies for the supply chain.

The MJC² software automatically plans contingency routes, and allows the impact of major disruptions to be simulated.

In operational mode the software dynamically allocates shipments to the right lane or service, based on the current state of the transport network and taking into account the urgency of the freight (e.g. based on inventory positions along the supply chain).



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