SYNCHRO-NET: Slow Steaming & Synchromodal Logistics

MJC², working in collaboration with 20 supply chain organisations, has been awarded an 8 million euro contract by the European Commission to develop advanced technologies to increase the benefits of slow steaming and synchromodal logistics for European and Global supply chains.

In a highly competitive bid process, SYNCHRO-NET beat 25 rival proposals from major supply chain organisations and innovators to win the funding.

MJC² was the leading innovation force behind the SYNCHRO-NET concept and focuses on the development of advanced synchromodal supply chain optimization software.

The project also addresses innovations in slow steaming and supply chain risk optimization to enhance the uptake of greener transport modes.

De-stressing the Supply Chain

What is Synchromodal Logistics?

Synchromodality is a new way of managing freight movements in the multimodal logistics operations. Instead of always using the same "fixed" route a given A-to-B lane, in a synchromodal operation the route is dynamically optimized based on cost, priority and status of the network.

Synchromodality reduces costs and increases reliability, while also making the supply chain greener and more sustainable. Synchromodal logistics algorithms automatically choose the right route based on urgency, type of goods and expected freight flows.

For example, a shipment may be planned onto a route consisting of rail->ship->barge->truck, but if the goods suddenly become more urgently needed, or if there is a delay on the way, the synchromodal algorithms automatically re-route to e.g. rail->ship->rail, or even switch to truck->air->truck if necessary.

The key point is that the most cost effective and sustainable option is chosen each time. The shipper has the confidence to use the slower (but greener) route, knowing that if there is a delay it is possible to recover lost time in a cost-effective way.

A major focus of SYNCHRO-NET is the development of the required synchromodal logistics algorithms. Multi-modal logistics scheduling is an extremely challenging optimization problem, as outlined here and requires advanced Artificial Intelligence-based techniques to achieve workable solutions.

... and what is Slow Steaming?

Slow steaming refers to the deliberate slowing down of a ship to reduce fuel use and therefore costs (and greenhouse gas emissions).

The challenge is to balance these benefits against the potential disadvantage of the goods taking longer to arrive at their destination.

The SYNCHRO-NET smart steaming approach involves intelligently optimizing shipping schedules to offer the right level of service, cost and sustainability.

Furthermore, by integrating the slow steaming approach with real-time tracking and status data, the ship's speed and course can be re-optimized to respond efficiently to unpredictable factors such as weather or congestion in ports.



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