Movement of freight in Greece mainly depends on roadway transport. Trucks account for 97% of the total domestic freight modal share. Moreover, the road freight sector undertakes 46.3% of the value of exports and 42.9% of the value of imports and represents 7% of the country’s GDP. These statistics highlight the need to address inefficiencies and improve the performance of the trucking industry. Despite the remarkable achievements that have been accomplished, the trucking industry still suffers from inefficiencies in productivity, capacity and environmental sustainability, lack of coordination and fragmentation of activities. A significant percent of trucks, for instance, has been recorded to return empty after delivering goods. Furthermore, 55% of the loaded truck trips are estimated to operate below their loading capacity. The use of auctions and brokerage services in transport is currently not a common practice and transport is typically arranged in a traditional way.
ACTIS aims to bridge this gap and leverage existing international practice and state-of-the-art in freight transport research. More specifically, it introduces into the Greek market a technologically advanced freight exchange platform, enhanced with innovative capabilities and services. Furthermore, the ACTIS Internet based platform comprises a cargo brokerage and freight exchange system as its basic functionality, and includes routing and fleet management applications, operating cost estimates and pricing of transport services, monitoring and control of the transport services being provided, etc. This system intends to become a unique industry oriented support tool for companies seeking and companies providing road freight transport services. Additionally, ACTIS addresses inefficiencies and improves the performance, competitiveness and viability of the road freight sector.
Project ACTIS is structured around four Working Packages, each containing several tasks and interrelated activities, comprising basic and industrial research and experimental development. The rationale of the project is that products will be developed in small increments, following the sprint plan as defined by the SCRUM framework. Within short work cycles, product increments become available for review and testing, therefore feedback from stakeholders (carriers and shippers) is incorporated in the development phase on a frequent basis.
ACTIS provides a freight exchange platform in the Greek market that offers benefits to both shippers and carriers:
- Increased productivity and environmental sustainability
- Coordination of activities
- Reduced economic implications
- Reduced operational costs
- Minimized social and environmental impacts
Furthermore, it broadens and deepens the scientific background of the participated partners on road freight operations with emphasis on cargo brokerage and freight auction and exchange systems.
The trucking industry uses the technological advances to become more sophisticated. A number of Internet based platforms have been developed aiming to further improve the efficiencies of trucking operations. In Greece, however, technology adoption in this sector of the economy is still relatively low, and the development of Internet based services to assist trucking companies is lagging behind. Thus, ACTIS comprises a novel and innovative freight exchange platform introduced in the Greek market offering transport services.
ACTIS provides the road transport industry and related customers with easy access to better and more economically efficient transport services; better access to information on carrier availability and comparative prices; easy identification and hiring of transport services; ensured quality and reliability of service and insurance coverage. Additionally, services posted on ACTIS platform are certified, as companies are requested to provide, update and validate frequently their profiles.
The project capitalizes on current scientific and technological developments in an attempt to support strong collaborations, even among competing partners, with the aim to reduce operational costs for transport services.
A market plan has been developed. The dissemination of the ACTIS platform started during the early stages of the project and upon the completion of its basic functionality, the product was released to a broad set of users. This, along with an aggressive outreach and a detailed marketing plan ensures the development of a market-ready product by the end of the project period.