As the world becomes more technologically advanced, freight and transport systems must embrace digital technologies to meet our ever-expanding needs. Digitalisation is playing a key role in the evolution of transport networks and the freight sector, with innovations being introduced throughout the entire system.

Freight often involves cross-border transport, which is why it is of particular significance at the 2017 ITS European Congress themed: ‘ITS Beyond Borders’. New innovations in freight sector development will be explored and discussed throughout the Congress.

Autonomous Port of Strasbourg – the port of the future?

Ports are highly significant to supply chains and the freight sector, and just like many other industries, they are embracing digital innovations. To fulfil their wide range of functions, modern ports need to work with the cities they form part of. Digitalisation needs to work in an integrated manner for both cities and ports in order to provide maximum efficiency.

The Autonomous Port of Strasbourg, France’s second largest inland port, is making great strides towards digitalisation and is using new technologies to great effect. As one of the major ports in the Upper Rhine it features 9km of quay length, 35km of roads and 150km of railway tracks.

One of the most exciting developments being spearheaded by the Port of Strasbourg is the RheinPorts Information System (RPIS). This state-of-the-art traffic management platform is now used by all the major stakeholders in the region. It is designed to boost the efficiency of container barge handling with features including single window corridor slot reservation for barge loading, custom declaration and arrival time calculation.

Becoming ‘the port of the future’ doesn’t happen overnight. Modernising and improving the systems that are already in place is a huge undertaking. The Port of Strasbourg is currently redefining its company strategy to meet future challenges and incorporate additional digital innovations. Examples of this include a broad modernisation of IT services as well as launching a study about the investment needs in fibre cables in the area.

There will be an opportunity to go on a technical visit to the Autonomous Port of Strasbourg at the 2017 ITS European Congress in Strasbourg. The visit will offer a guided tour through the north container terminal and will feature a presentation showing the RPIS platform in action. Places are limited, so sign up now!

Connected corridors

One issue which particularly affects the freight sector is moving goods internationally, because systems in different countries often aren’t compatible with each other. Initiatives are underway to deploy intelligent transport systems uniformly throughout Europe to improve cross-border transportation.

Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) allows for connectivity between vehicles and road infrastructure, as well as between road users and traffic managers. Linked to connected and automated driving, C-ITS improves road safety and traffic efficiency, which benefits all road users, not just trucks and lorries.

The benefits of C-ITS include reduced congestion and increased service reliability. However, to maximise these benefits the systems need to be deployed consistently between countries. C-ITS infrastructure typically relies on creating a network of stakeholders across member states. These stakeholders include urban transport authorities, industry players and national governments. Fortunately, there are a number of programmes and projects underway that are aimed at unifying deployment across borders.

InterCor is one European project that is developing a common set of specifications towards interoperability and cross-border services. The project is a collaboration between France, the Netherlands, the UK and Belgium, where existing C-ITS services of the participating countries are tested for their interoperability. The results of these tests will help ensure the seamless deployment of C-ITS services across Europe.

 ERTICO: supporting infrastructure to enhance freight transport in Europe

ERTICO – ITS Europe has recently developed a number of freight and logistics initiatives as part of its mission to support and promote the deployment of intelligent transport services, including ‘Transport and Logistics’. It is also part of the Digital Transport & Logistics Forum (DTLF). This is working to identify challenges and areas where common action across the EU is needed. One workstream is promoting the use of transport documents in an electronic format. Another is focused on facilitating the flow of electronic information to improve the efficiency of cargo flows.

AEOLIX is a project which aims to develop a cloud-based ‘digital ecosystem’ to better manage and synchronise freight and logistics operations across Europe. The AEOLIX platform is all about increasing supply-chain visibility and allows users to access immediate, real-time information to support logistics-based decisions, enabling more efficient transport. To learn more about intelligent networked logistics you can attend session PR03.

Other ERTICO projects include CO-GISTICS, the first pilot project dedicated to the deployment of cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) as applied to logistics. At this year’s Congress, CO-GISTICS, together with Geoloc Systems and with the Strasbourg traffic control centre, will demonstrate two services on the roads and junctions of the city: GLOSA (Green light Optimal Speed Advisory), a system that combines traffic signal status information from the traffic control centre with in-vehicle advice on how to manage speed to minimise the need to stop a traffic signals; and Cargo Transport optimisation based on innovative organisational algorithms.  Attend session PR08 to find out how to improve efficiency of freight and logistics through C-IT.

Join us in Strasbourg from 19–22 June for the 12th ITS European Congress

Register now and get the chance to discover more about how digitalisation and new technology is impacting freight and logistics. For a thorough exploration of the topic don’t miss high level sessions like Plenary Session 2 – Smart cities and future ports: what is the role of ITS? and Executive Session 02 – Next generation goods delivery.We look forward to seeing you in Strasbourg!