Optimising Intermodal Freight Transport through European Ports

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  • ActivityFeasibility Study
  • Closing date09 August 2011

Sub optimal routing and scheduling is a major contributor to delays, congestion, pollution and high costs of operation. Many port and transport operators are considering ways to improve the routing and scheduling of their freight transport.

The European Space Agency (ESA) with the Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) programme, named ARTES 20, have issued on 31 May 2011 an Invitation to Tender to investigate the feasibility of a sustainable service to "Optimise Intermodal Freight Transport through European Ports", using the functionality of satellites.

The activity shall ensure business efficiencies which will ultimately lead to a reduction of road mileage of inter-modal containers, through collaboration between shipping lines, ports, transport and rail companies, depots and the end customers.



Based on an analysis of (end)-users and stakeholders and their needs and conditions, the study will identify and elaborate upon end user services for the intermodal freight traffic chain in ports, as well as on the service provision value chains.

For the delivery of the commercially beneficial services, the study will define an open architecture and a set of interfaces for an integrated information management system, including both terrestrial and space assets.

Two space based capabilities are central to the proposed information management services:

  • Satellite Navigation for tracking purposes (primarily of ships, trucks and containers) and
  • Satellite Communications for transmitting position signals, for fleet management and logistics services, as well as for the delivery of weather routing services.

As the primary aim of the services is the improvement in the economic efficiency of intermodal transport, an economic viability analysis will be at the core of this feasibility study. Also legal and security consideration need to be taken into account.

The study content will include as tasks: stakeholder / user consolidation, refinement of user requirements, state of the art analysis, service definition, system definition, proof of concept, viability analysis, and implementation roadmap.



Information on the call for proposals has been published on ESA’s Electronic Mail Invitation to Tendering System, EMITS (http://emits.esa.int), under the reference AO 6777 (under “Open Invitations to Tender”). The applicable tender solicitation package can be downloaded by registered users under this 'Announcement of Opportunity' (AO). This specific call is open for applications until 26 July 2011. 'Entity Registration' is possible on the same website.