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Stake holders in the transport sector can make enormous savings if the travel time for each journey can be adequately predicted; resulting in less waiting time at the terminal or distribution centre and more optimal loading of trucks and inland shipping vessels. To enable this, TNO has developed an information platform to smartly link data of parties from both inside and outside the sector. You can participate for a small investment.
'There is plenty of information available but it only becomes valuable if you can link it all smartly and enable easy access,' says Maarten Oonk, market manager for Logistics. 'We have specialized in big data for years at TNO. The art is to combine structure, enrich and visualize data from different sources so that valuable information can be derived to enable parties in the transport sector to optimize their logistics operations. It's all about the controlled sharing of data. Transport companies feed the system with data from their planning systems and we combine that with live traffic data. All the information is real-time and is continually updated. We have also incorporated historical data. Using special algorithms, we can predict travel and waiting times very accurately while terminal operators, for example, use the information to optimize their planning. So it's a double-edged sword.'
Another important aspect of the system is the exchange of information among the stake holders that allow them to make much better use of each other's capacity. Each day many trucks on the roads travel with no or little cargo, and the situation for vessels on the inland waterways is no different. 'Often a company that transports containers by truck or ship will have room that other companies would be keen to use. The platform helps to match demand and supply, without the need to purchase an expensive system. A simple system coupled to your existing IT environment or planning system allows access to the platform. Participating companies decide for themselves who may access what information. And it is also attractive for the large group of independent drivers who can use a smartphone or tablet app to subscribe quickly and easily to consignments.'
The top sector Logistics has embraced the TNO platform. If parties in the mainports and large distribution hubs get together via the platform, the transport and logistics sector can, according to Oonk, be organised in a better, more efficient and sustainable way. He sees it as a significant step towards synchromodality: no longer planning the journey for a container in in advance but let the means of transport depend on the available, cheapest, quickest or most sustainable form of transport for each part of the journey. 'It's all down to the smart combination and decoding of real-time data,' he says. 'Stake holders that see the system working are immediately convinced of its power. This system will also help The Netherlands to maintain its leading international position in respect of orchestrating the flow of goods.'
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