Logistic ICT -solution for transport matching

The Development of an ICT portal in workpackage 5 (Wp 5) of NECL II includes

• Transforming of an existing ICT system prototype into  a transport matching system working for daily operations at freight managers and logistic centers
• Decrease of the big volume of empty or partially loaded transports of today.

The aim is to transform an existing ICT system prototype (Figure 1) to a transport matching system that works in the daily operations at freight managers and logistical centers, for instance ports. The interest of this portal has grown and been demonstrated in other EU projects and the importance of further development has been pointed out by several cargo owners and transport operators.

Figure 1: The supplier part where transports can be sequentially added.

We are currently implementing the first test case using real time data and tailor, extend and optimize further the existing modules in the portal. This development is performed in close cooperation between researchers at Mid Sweden University (MIUN), Frontwalker (consultant) and the involved companies in the first case study described below. The optimization moduel is now finished and has been connected to real data located in a database.

The most usual criterias to be considered in logistics is time and cost, but this projects module also considers the important dimension of emissions, since it is very relevant to be aware of environmental impact today.  This part has extra support by a Ph.D. student at the Stockhom University (SU) in Kista, with other financing, and the research group DECIDE with its origin at SU but also consisting of researchers from MIUN and other universities. Emissons has in the case been calculated using the ecotransit model developed by researchers at the Swedish envirmonetal Institute (IVL).

The ICT portal under development will be an important tool to optimize goods transports in the corridor with free access for all interested in BSR (companies, authorities and private persons) with a strong focus on a good weighting between emissions, costs and delays in intermodal freight transports.

The work in  Wp 5 is divided into six subproject:

Activity 1: Data management and integration
   •  Finalized with activity report availablePDF

Activity 2: Optimization module
   •  Finalized with activity report availablePDF

Other publications in this activity:
Olsson.L, Larsson.A., Matching of Intermodal Freight Transports using optimization in a decision support system, in the IEEE International Conference on Industrial  Engineering and Engineering management, Hong Kong 2012.

Activity 3: Multi-attribute decision evaluation module
   •  Finalized with activity report availablePDF
   •  Discussions with IVL about external costs ongoing (report from IVLexternal link, opens in new window)

Other publications in this activity:
Kalinina.M., A.Larsson. and L.Olsson."Generating of Ordering of Transport Alternatives in Intermodal Logistics in the Presence of Cost, time and Emission Conflicts" in the IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering management, Hong Kong 2012.

Kalinina.M, Larsson. A and Olsson. L. 2013. " Easy-Interactive Ordering of the Pareto Optimal Set with Imprecise Weights," World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology: An International Journal of Science, Engineering and Technology(ISSN 2010-376X)

Activity 4: Graphical user interface
   •  Finalized with activity report availablePDF

Technical documentation of the first version of the ICT-portalPDF
The technical specification is designed to show how a prototype that uses a mathematical optimization model from Mid Sweden University has been created and works. The prototype is used to draw attention to the mathematical core benefits for shipping agents. The prototype is divided into four different parts, a database, a calculation core, a wrapper that contains the computing center and a website. The website is for both shippers and suppliers with transportation needs. The specification does not go through the mathematical optimization model, which is documented in numerous scientific articles. Some of the key requirements in the development of the portal were to use real cases, be able to add transportation, and be able to show the optimization results in a correct way. Technically, the prototype must also show that the solution works with many different databases and that it is context-independent. One advantage is that the prototype communicates with JSON and sockets, which means that other software can be connected to the wrapper. The biggest problem with the prototype is that there is an opportunity to purge the database at runtime, which is needed for demonstration purposes but can cause problems if the searches take place simultaneously. Another problem is that anyone can go in and use the optimization. The final product must place the logic solved. To use the mathematical model completely, it should also be support for multi-hop paths.

Activity 5: Demonstration, testing and documentation
•  Finalized with activity report availablePDF

Activity 6: Acceptance and commercialization
•  Finalized with activity report availablePDF
•  Market AnalysisPDF

The development is led by MIUN in cooperation with interested logistic centers. The first case study is currently ongoing at the ports in Härnösand and Söråker operated by Delta Terminal AB.

First Case study: Pellets transports at the port of Söråker and Härnösand

In this case study the port of Söråker and Härnösand that is located 20 and 55 km north of Sundsvall in Sweden was chosen to be the target ports for establishing a real case with real data. These ports are operated by Delta Terminal AB and the area of Söråker is depicted in Figure 2.
Figure 2: The port of Söråker from above (Delta Terminal AB)

We have collected real case data to test the portal to match load carrier, such as containers and trucks, to available cargo routes. The reason for this is that this procedure is performed manually by an operator today using telephone and spreadsheets and we think that this procedure could be improved a lot using a portal.
Today´s business process and practical handling of load carriers (Figure 3) has been analyzed and the case study is now present as well as price and emission calculations. The GUI has been connected to the the optimization module that is feeded by data from a database.

Figure 3: Container management at the port of Söråker (Delta Terminal AB)

The study has been focused to target the pellet transportation from the port of Söråker and Härnösand. Real case data is collected from these transports to ensure that the developed module is working in the real world. This data will furthermore be used to exemplify a real case testing the currently developed GUI of the portal where acting customers can place orders and receive the optimized transport from their input criterias. This first evaluation of the full scaled system is planned for November of 2012.

The main idea is that small- and medium sized companies will be offered to book space for their freight of pellet transports out from Söråker and Härnösand. This will give the optimized option for their transport. One important part of this study is that it includes return transportation. This basically means that empty load carrier space can be used for customers on an already existing transport, if available. This will result in cheaper and more environmental friendly transports, as well as, promoting a sustainable trade and commerce in the Sundsvall area.

Evaluation of the case study will be performed in close cooperation with the involved companies and the case will end during March 2013. Evaluation will be performed by a reference group that, except for the involved companies, consists of representatives from NECLA.

Delta Terminal AB takes an active part of this development serving with practical knowledge, business contacts and information from their database system, as well as evaluation of the system from a practical point of view. The working group consists of representatives of all levels from Delta Terminal AB and the development team at the Mid Sweden University.

Further information of ICT-work within WP5:
WP5-leader Leif Olsson
Uppdated: 2013-07-03
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