SYNCHRO-NET: Interoperable Logistics


SYNCHRO-NET is an innovative EU-wide initiative focusing on applying synchromodal scheduling and smart steaming algorithms to multimodal logistics operations:

  • Real-time synchromodal logistics optimization.
  • Slow steaming ship simulation & control systems.
  • Synchromodal risk/benefit analysis statistical modelling.
  • Dynamic stakeholder impact assessment toolset.

SYNCHRO-NET features a combination of synchromodal optimization algorithms integrated with smart steaming technology to de-stress the supply chain.

To achieve this real-time optimization SYNCHRO-NET integrates with a wide range of tracking and visibility solutions - this document summarises the interoperable approach reported at the recent multi-modal event in Valencia.

Multi-stakeholder Collaborative Optimization

SYNCHRO-NET is a truly multi-stakeholder solution, offering benefits for many actors in the supply chain:

  • Rail Freight Transport: new AI algorithms to optimize rail freight operations.
  • Ship Operations: smart steaming to increase reliability and fuel efficiency.
  • Hauliers & Drivers: advanced real-time scheduling and driver hours optimization
  • Ports & Terminals: AI algorithms reduce queues and increase capacity.
  • Retailers & Manufacturers: end-to-end "de-stressed" synchromodal supply chains.
  • Customs & Borders: increased visibility and control & optimization of resources.
  • Public Stakeholders: Reduced greenhouse gas emissions and congestion.

Collaboration via Interoperability

SYNCHRO-NET exploits the rapid development of digitalisation of the transport and logistics network, building on the investment by the European Commission in recent years.

Interoperable Communications

The artificial intelligence algorithms are connected to the real world via an interoperable communications layer based on e-Freight standards.

MJC² has been actively involved in developing and exploiting these standards in the e-Freight project and other initiatives such as CONTAIN and eMAR.

SYNCHRO-NET shows how adoption of these standards can lead to significant operational savings and benefits by using the newly available data to feed the AI algorithms that optimize logistics and freight movements.

Maritime Single Windows

The Single Windows initiative drives standardisation of reporting and declarations in Europe.

From the SYNCHRO-NET perspective a key benefit is the increased and more rapid availability of data relating to ship arrivals and departures.

SYNCHRO-NET uses this information to automate the logistics optimization process, for example enabling dynamic planning of berth allocations as well as synchromodal scheduling of the hinterland transport operation.

Real-time Tracking & Visibility

SYNCHRO-NET also uses real-time positional and status information from logistics assets, automatically updating expected ETAs and re-optimizing the transport plan in response to deviations. For example:

  • AIS (Automatic Identification System) data from ships is used to update progress and expected arrival time at the port, facilitating smart steaming optimization and berth scheduling, as well as real-time planning of terminal and hinterland operations.
  • RIS (River Information Services) which provide data used by SYNCHRO-NET for optimization of inland waterway movements.
  • ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) which provides real-time positional and status information for rail freight movements.
  • GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking of trucks and/or containers to ensure that haulier and driver operations stay synchronised with the overall multimodal plan.

Furthermore, SYNCHRO-NET and complementary initiatives such as SAFEPOST support integration with Internet-of-Things-enabled sensors and devices, such as those mounted on containers or pallets. The corresponding optimization algorithms use this enhanced positional and status information to smooth flows through hubs and sortation facilities.



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