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Co-modality - towards Optimised Integrated Chains in Freight Transport Logistics

State of the Art - Background

While there has been a great amount of research performed in the area of transport interoperability as well as related ICT system integration, there is further room for investigation at a higher level - a systems approach favoured by logisticians, where any transport activity is viewed in the context of entire supply chains and networks. Efficiency at this level is different from the uni-modal or even intermodal view of transport operations and fully conforms to the principles of co-modality.

The KOMODA project is presented as an answer to the research objectives launched by call TPT 2007.2 concerning the optimisation of the logistics chain through co-modality. More precisely, KOMODA's objective is to produce a roadmap, with associated action plans, to nurture an integrated e-logistics platform by and between modes of freight transport across Europe. Such a platform must comply with a series of basic requirements: it has to be based on open standards, usable by any concern, able to communicate freely between existing applications and allow the integration of legacy systems and future development. Several such IT logistics platforms are currently in use, but mostly consist of private company applications, which are not connected and not even compatible.


The KOMODA project is going to bridge the gap between the development of large, usually bespoke, e-logistics applications, developed by large enterprises such as General Motors, Outokumpu or the supermarkets, and an open standardised e-logistics system that achieves integration but in a many-to-many, multiple vendor and client model.

KOMODA will evaluate and propose actions to release the power of integrated e-logistics for a greater number of companies (including SMEs) in Europe, and do so in a co-modal fashion that recognises the need to utilise modes such as road and air, improve accessibility to systems and services at the periphery, and improve competitiveness.

The final objective is the preparation of a coherent roadmap - a set of technical, economic and policy steps that are necessary and feasible for the development of co-modality in Europe. The formula provided should be implemented beyond the project, realising the potential of the public and private stakeholders working in partnership to further increase the efficiency of European industry, create jobs and stimulate growth while respecting societal and environmental needs.

Description of Work

KOMODA is key in developing the intermodal and uni-modal architectures, standards, platforms and applications already developed for a co-modal future. This will be done by analysing how well they perform in the first work package (WP1), how well they meet the needs of logistics clients and operators (WP2), the obstacles and opportunities extant in Europe today (WP3) and preparing a clear, validated roadmap based on qualitative and quantitative research (WP4).

KOMODA, via its activities, and more specifically in WP5, will also seek to break some common cultural approaches in order to stimulate dialogue and common knowledge about the overall transport global situation and future scenarios which must be faced with new co-operative schemes, solutions and approaches in order to ensure that the overall transport network will be sustainable.

KOMODA will follow a bottom-up approach, with a strong involvement with freight industry stakeholders. The work will include a wide Delphi survey amongst the logistics chain stakeholders to obtain a comprehensive picture of available e-logistics applications used in transport operations, their sources, availability, functionality and use by companies. Obstacles and opportunities will be identified for finally developing a structured and coherent action plan for innovation and change leading towards an integrated e-logistics, Europe-wide system.

Expected Results

A roadmap for innovative e-logistics solutions (and the associated organisational and business models) will be defined under common specifications and design activity. These will also cope with the different regulatory, administrative and management policies.

KOMODA has brought together local authorities, ICT and e-commerce service developers, freight operators and logistics experts, etc. from different EU countries. This will achieve a pan-European assessment of different impacts and potentials of advanced e-logistic solutions and applications in the current situation as well as in the medium to long-term horizon.

KOMODA will impact e-logistics and co-modality by:

- offering the actors and providers of e-logistics clear benchmarks of current applications;

- offering a gap analysis to the ICT industry to develop new and better applications;

- identifying obstacles that EU actors can remove, and opportunities that clients and users can exploit;

- making a clear roadmap that fits the single European market model and allows pluralist but standardised development of an integrated many-to-many e-logistics system in Europe.