Synchromodality and CEF

Connecting Europe Facility

Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is a major investment programme by the European Union, focusing on energy, transport and digital technology.

CEF Transport supports new infrastructure and upgrades to existing facilities and connections. In particular, investment in rail and inland waterway infrastructure enhances the scope and benefits of adopting a synchromodal logistics strategy for intra-Europe freight transport.

What is synchromodality?

In a synchromodal logistics operation freight movements are allocated to multiple modes of transport, with dynamic switching between modes and services depending on urgency and capacity. This applies at both the planning and execution stages.

Artificial Intelligence Algorithms

When planning and booking a new freight movement, synchromodal optimization algorithms automatically choose the best route and combination of modes.

Artificial intelligence algorithms are used to determine the required speed and service level, based on customer preferences and/or inventory levels.

For example, ideally a green, low-cost solution involving inland waterway and rail would be chosen, but an urgent shipment would be allocated to truck or even air if necessary.

Real-time Optimization

During execution of the movement i.e. while the freight is in transit, the synchromodal planning system monitors the progress of the shipment and the corresponding vessels/vehicles/services.

If a delay occurs, of if the shipment suddenly becomes more (or less) urgent due to other changes in the downstream supply chain, the logistics algorithms automatically re-route to alternative services and modes.

Exploiting the CEF Investment

Synchromodality exploits the investment in physical and digital infrastructure and technology supported by the CEF programme.

Reproduced from

TEN-T Network (from

Integrated optimization of movements through the TEN-T network and corresponding first- and last-mile transport services leads to a massive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and congestion in Europe.

Increased digitalisation and standardisation of information flows further facilitates the real-time synchromodal concept, leading to increased reliability and visibility along the supply chain.

Synchromodality in Action

SYNCHRO-NET is an innovative initiative to optimize the supply chain by developing new synchromodal and smart steaming software tools that enable shippers and logistics operators to de-stress the supply chain.

The SYNCHRO-NET approach has been developed through collaboration between MJC² leading logistics companies such as DHL, Kuehne+Nagel and COSCO, working with other technology innovators and research organisations.

SYNCHRO-NET allows transport operators and shippers to reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions through advanced optimization and de-risking of the multi-modal supply chain.

Dynamic scheduling of processes at ports and terminals reduces bottlenecks and smooths flows through these key nodes in the supply chain, developing a win-win proposition for all actors in the supply chains.

SYNCHRO-NET focussed on several case studies and examples in Europe, showing how to maximise the opportunities presented by the CEF investments.



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