To achieve competitive sustainability and higher levels of efficiency taking account of all costs and externalities and to maximise the utilisation of the multimodal freight transport nodes’ capacity, the proposals should research and demonstrate all of the following points:

  • Building on previous EU and other funded projects159, and enabling compatibility with legacy systems, demonstrate and quantify the benefits of using different intermodal transport units (ITUs) and innovative automated loading systems to support multimodal logistics operations. Further develop standardisation strategies on intermodal transport units also focusing on different modes and logistics operators, cargo transport/transhipment procedures, technologies and interfaces to enable flexibility, efficiency and sustainability of the transport system.
  • In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation, international cooperation on standardisation of ITUs is encouraged.
  • Building on previous and on-going Horizon 2020 and CEF funded projects160 and the Digital Transport and Logistics Forum’s findings161, deploy and demonstrate advanced cooperative logistics IT solutions in actual operational environment (minimum at TRL 7) focusing on better integration of the nodes in overall supply chains and the accessibility and usability of node services in an automated/digital manner, with a user perspective approach. The deployed IT solutions should:
    • Provide full visibility of the standard services offered by the multimodal freight transport nodes, and by the companies operating in them, e.g. open and shared warehouses, terminal services, transhipment facilities, transport services from and to the terminals;
    • Providing better estimated and actual times of arrival and of departure through real time track and trace of the transport and goods, benefitting from standardised identification (e.g. RFID, new sensors) and improved positioning accuracy based on European GNSS;
    • Provide automated decision support system functionalities to optimise the supply chain overall performance and its resilience against disruptive events (including pandemics);
    •  Ensure compatibility of deployed solutions with existing legacy systems;
    • Ensure the resilience of data and management systems to mitigate the consequence of accidental or malicious interventions;
    • Address data ownership, confidentiality, governance and access rights;
    •  Facilitate greenhouse gas emissions reduction through, for example, smart scheduling and information on expected port arrivals times with support slow steaming operations.
  • Capitalising on previous Horizon 2020 projects162, demonstrate the effectiveness of new business models and collaborative approaches - preferably supported by the IT infrastructure and solutions outlined above - able to support cooperative logistics operations with focus on the provision of open logistics nodal services. The business models should consider the legal constraints and include appropriate frameworks for contractual relations in collaborative environments. Based on the deployment of these new business models, identify concrete legal barriers and regulations at both European and national levels preventing their adoption and market uptake, and propose solutions and specific policy recommendations.
  • Ensure compatibility with existing and emerging EU logistics standards such as the European Maritime Single Window environment163 for maritime transport and the platforms for Electronic Freight Transport information164 and with the outcomes of initiatives such as the Digital Transport and Logistics Forum (DTLF).

Social innovation is recommended when the solution is at the socio-technical interface and requires social change, new social practices, social ownership or market uptake.