Dynamic and Synchromodal Container Consolidation: The Cloud Computing Enabler

Since the container became the dominant unit and driver of change in world-wide freight transport, the optimal utilization of container capacities has become a key challenge of the supply chain management. Fragments of customer orders often arrive to the final destination via different, sub-optimal routes which impose increased delivery times, costs and CO₂ emissions to the global supply chain. This work describes how cloud computing is an enabler for addressing the issue of dynamic and synchro-modal container consolidation at the Piraeus Container Terminal, the fastest growing port in Europe according to recent studies. A significant barrier to an efficient container consolidation at port terminals is the reduced visibility and information exchange between related stakeholders on real-time location and status of a container and its contents. This is due to a multitude of reasons: the lack of a common standard for information exchange, competition matters, absence of trusted service providers collecting data, information shared on a next carrier basis without disseminating information to the rest of the stakeholders. Well-defined trigger points on standard routes may be reported by the carriers (e.g. arrival and shipment of goods, credit releases) and will allow for better monitoring of shipments and introduction of Key Performance Indicators for route evaluation and carrier performance. This work proposes a cloud-based information portal as an Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) enabling technology used as a single point of reference by supply chain stakeholders; the latter will use this portal to feed it with real-time information from existing platforms so that a better visibility for all parties is enabled. This portal will implement accessible interfaces with parties of each step of the transport process (e.g. interface with the customer, warehouse, next-leg carrier) using standardized formats as far as possible. It will allow for a flexible parameterization per customer and for a straightforward incorporation of regional special requirements, as is the constraint of single customer per container applicable in some countries. This portal will permit a better visibility level for end-customers, promote standardization of logistics processes, offer an increased profitability for cloud services providers, improve their activities expansion, as well as accelerate customs process handling. Nevertheless, even though cloud technology is mature enough, the trust level of stakeholders in security and reliability of such solutions needs to increase for a wide deployment.


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  • Accession Number: 01607935
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 29 2016 8:33AM