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Intermodal Portal

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Network corridors
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

IP is a combined RTD/Demonstration project for the Task 2.3.2/2 'Innovative Waterborne Transport Concepts' of the 1st Call for the 5th Framework Programme, Thematic Programme 'Competitive and Sustainable Growth', Key Action 'Sustainable Mobility and Intermodality'. European integration is currently on the verge of achievement. Economically speaking, the decision-makers in the domain of logistics think now on a macroeconomic level. Thus, the current logistical strategies are built at a European level. Actually, one of the major issues in the logistics field is the coordination of numerous partners of different professions, cultures and sizes. This wish of coordination and harmonisation is translated in practice by the necessity to harmonise complex procedures and by the need of communication between heterogeneous information systems.


In the field of transport, huge disparities exist comparing the evolution of the Information Systems of the different transportation modes. So air carriers, by the intrinsic characteristics of this transportation mode (the speed) have developed years ago tools or information systems allowing a real time management of the goods and a worldwide data exchange. This statement is all the more true in the field of express freight where integrators such as UPS, DHL or Federal Express built effective solutions for tracing and tracking.


Other means of transport, especially the maritime transport mode, did not manage to achieve the same increase in that field. This could be partially explained by the fact that intermodal mode links different partners with heterogeneous interest and do not follow the good from door to door. Thus, the European Union need to acquire a global information system and methods aiming to connect the different member states for an efficient, reliable and fast follow-up of the goods.

This objective can be grasped on several levels:

  • At the security level: the recent maritime disaster of the ERIKA brought out the difficulty of tracking the ships sailing in European territorial waters
  • At the level of a ship's entrance in a harbour: in the case of a Short Sea Shipping transport, the same merchandise must be declared several times in the European ports.
  • At the level of merchandise tracing: currently, no harmonized European system exists to follow a transportation from door to door.
  • At the level of intermodal transportation: by definition in

The IP Project will improve the integration of ports into intermodal transport chains by harmonising administrational procedures and offering a set of information and communication (ICT) tools and services for easing the mandatory data supply as well as the data delivery to other partners in the chain. This will be done by integrating results of previously successful RTD projects and industrial strength solutions into a large scale demonstration covering 20 of the major seaports all over Europe (from Finland to Greece). Ports should act as service providers (reliable and easy-to-use nodes) in the chain with a minimum set of standard procedures and ICT links for receiving required information and providing sufficient and high quality data being fundamental for the monitoring and further planning of the chains.


How will the Intermodal Portal be realised?

  1. Definition of concrete services to be offered:
    - Single desk for administrative and port handling
    - Management of dangerous goods communication
    - Virtual Intermodal Portal for interconnecting existing systems
  2. Building of web site and a set of tools for delivering the IP services
  3. Establishing electronics links with ports, port community systems, terminals, shipping lines, logistics operators to test the services
  4. Thorough demonstration and refinement of three service offerings by working with users Testbeds:
    Testbed 1: Waterborne Single Desk for normalising the administrative procedures of cargo vessels calling at seaports, thus supporting free movement of cargo, short sea shipping and quality shipping.
    Testbed 2: Waterborne Intermodal Node for linking port-related information with pre- and oncarriage data, e.g. with railways, truck or barge operators, fostering intermodality.
    Testbed 3: HAZMAT Dangerous Goods for harmonising dangerous goods reporting schemes supporting safety and security.

Work packages:

WP 1 - Refinement of the IP concept: To finalize the definition and scope of the selected testbeds in terms of procedures/ document flows to be tackled, exact geographical and user coverage of the tests and the selection of the building blocks to be integrated (which comes from different projects and commercially available tools and services).

WP 2 – Specification/ Harmonization of procedures: To normalize the way transport agents work in the business cycle covered by the testbeds

WP 3 – Integration of technologies: To produce a unified System for each of the testbeds by integrating existing building blocks and developing additional modules wherever necessary.

W P 4- External integration: The Systems should be compliant and/or connected to the existing operational systems such as Vessel Traffic Management Systems (VTS), and new initiatives such as the 'Maritime Cargo Black Box'

WP 5 – Demonstration and refinement: Live testing of the system and user evaluation in around20 seaports from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean.

WP 6 – Define deployment approach and legal support: To define implementation policies and the legal framework required to launch the Intermodal Portal for commercial exploitation.

WP 7 – Exploitation and dissemination:


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


  1. Internet Site and a decentralized virtual portal offering a set of tools and services
  2. IP is a multi-port service; it does not have the intention of substituting Port Community Systems but to extend their functionality
  3. Electronic links with ports, port community systems, terminals, shipping lines and logistics operators have been established in order to test the services
  4. More than 70 users (11 countries)
  5. Services in live operation Services offered by IP:
    - Single Desk
    - Hazmat Dangerous Goods
    - Virtual Ship Agent
    - Voyage Offering and Quotation
    - Port Order on-line
    - Real Time ETA
    - Transport Order for trucks
    - Information BL
    - XML Message definitions

Policy implications

There are three main challenges tackled with the IP project:

  • to support the change towards the Information Society;
  • to support the use of intermodal chains involving waterborne transport ;
  • toimprove the integration of ports into intermodal transport chains by harmonising administrational procedures and offering a set of information and communication (ICT) tools and services for easing the mandatory data supply as well as the data delivery to other partners in the chain.

The reduction of road transport or at least a significant reduction of its growth is considered as an important contribution to the Community social objectives. In the long-term perspective, Intermodal Portal will contribute to port efficiency and thus to improve its role for economy and employment. A port is an important service provider and could generate many jobs outside the port and also internally within its own structure.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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