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Co-operative European System for Advanced Information Redistribution

European Union
Complete with results
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The organisation of an integrated chain for Combined Transport (CT) requires special information flow procedures for the different transport stages. At present, in the case of unimodal road haulage, distribution companies organise the information flow on their own account. In the case of CT operation procedures, however, logistic service providers expect CT operators to set up a seamless information chain. Of course, a wide variety of communication flows already exist between CT operators and their clients. Many of these communication activities adopt such modern technologies as computer-generated fax transmission, e-mail, and electronic data interchange.


The main objective of the CESAR project was to make intermodal transport more attractive by harmonising information exchange between CT operators and their clients. In particular, CESAR aimed to demonstrate how different systems can be virtually interconnected and offer standard client interfaces to the customers.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The main outcome of the CESAR project is a pilot system for communication between CT operators and their clients, mainly road hauliers and freight forwarders. The system provides clients with the opportunity to book transportation services, and to get information about the status of their loading units. It is a mix of centralised and decentralised system types - status information is stored in a central database, which is continuously updated by CESAR partners, while a booking interface allows clients to directly contact CT operators.

The system is organised as a stand-alone interface allowing clients to book or to query for status information from a PC connected to the Internet, without any CESAR-specific programs installed on it. The different data exchanged between CT operators and their clients have been organised using a standardised industry-specific message structure following the EDIFACT structure, in order to facilitate direct electronic data interchange. Strict rules are defined for access to common information, since CT operators participating to CESAR may be competitors as well.

Policy implications

The CESAR project has demonstrated how to create a European alliance of several CT operators through creating one virtual operator towards the client. A co-operative approach has enabled CESAR partners to join the performance of their different EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) systems by allowing them to keep their decentralised structure (which responds to a number of national or specific user requirements) while providing a standard interface for booking to the external world. Other interested operators are expected to join in the near future, thus leading to a step-by-step development of European standards for client-operator and operator-operator interfaces. Further developments of the CESAR system are foreseen in its follow-up project, CESAR II, in the Fifth Framework Programme.

The main benefits of the CESAR system are obviously addressed to CT operators and their clients, but the improvement of intermodal transport can benefit society as a whole, helping to reach the goal of sustainable mobility. CT operators have the possibility of enlarging their market and increasing the quality of service offered to their clients, while clients can make bookings and get status information more quickly and effectively via the Internet, without the need for major changes to their in-house systems.

CESAR is mainly used by road hauliers and freight forwarders (customers of the CT operators) to make reservations and get status information when the loading unit is on the terminal or on the train. The transport from the shipper to the CT terminal is carried out by the road haulier himself under his responsibility and control.

Different data exchanged between CT operators and their clients have been organised using a standardised industry-specific message structure following the EDIFACT structure, in order to facilitate direct electronic data interchange.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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