Modulushca efforts will lead to the development of a road map towards a fully interconnected logistics system in 2030. The road map will address the changes and necessary steps to change the logistics system gradually, exploiting progresses in digital, physical and operational interconnectivity, building on current players, assets and infrastructures.
The objective of Modulushca is to achieve the first genuine contribution to the development of interconnected logistics at the European level, in close coordination with North American partners and the international Physical Internet Initiative.
The goal of the project is to enable operating with developed iso-modular logistics units of sizes adequate for real modal and co-modal flows of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), providing a basis for an interconnected logistics system for 2030.
Modulushca integrates five interrelated working fields: (1) developing a vision addressing the user needs for interconnected logistics in the FMCG domain, (2) the development of a set of exchangeable (ISO) modular logistics units providing a building block of smaller units, (3) establishing digital interconnectivity of the units, (4) development of an interconnected logistics operations platform leading to a significant reduction in costs and CO2 emissions that will be (5) demonstrated in two implementation pilots for interconnected solutions.
Modulushca will establish a robust and replicable methodology to develop and evaluate solutions for interconnected logistics looking at other elements of the supply chain. Two implementation pilots will be executed integrating key Modulushca developments in significantly different supply chains: (1) a closed pilot evaluating the benefits on a inter-site supply chain addressing handling and transportation of iso-modular logistics units within one company, and (2) an open network pilot will evaluate the impact of iso-modular logistics units in cross docking and transshipment processes.
A logistics system modelled on the Web
The EU-funded project MODULUSHCA provides a comprehensive set of concepts and developments towards a digital, operational and physical interconnected worldwide logistics network.
At the moment, only very few freight carriers are cooperating with competitors. Most of them operate enormous distribution centres and they have their own fleet of transport vehicles as well as their own goods delivery processes. It is this individuality of the logistics industry that the 'physical Internet' is meant to address.
Taking inspiration from the World Wide Web, this innovative concept promises to make transportation of goods not only more efficient but also more flexible. Just like information can be sent through the open routes of the Web, consumer goods could arrive at their destination in a shared worldwide logistics network.
The EU-funded project 'Modular logistics units in shared co-modal networks' (http://www.modulushca.eu/ (MODULUSHCA)) has researched the methodological, functional components towards a Physical Internet and developed and tested first applications.
To enable competitors to share their infrastructure and make full use of the transport assets, a special set of modular boxes (M-Boxes) was developed, produced and tested under real life conditions. Box specifications aiming towards a standardisation, such as a collapsing functionalities or panel design, have been assessed, included and realised. Innovative production methodologies such as 3D printing are employed for prototyping. Together with other prototypes of different box sizes, “LEGO”-type building blocks for shipments have been produced, digitally connected to each other and included in an overall IT Architecture. The first laboratory tests for reliability, strength and potential faults involve supplying consumer goods such as body care and cleaning products to supermarkets and have been successfully executed in an interplant and distribution layout.
The overall concept with its operational issues has been researched as well, such as the handling of boxes, loading of trucks, optimal network of hubs, different concepts and business cases.
Promotion of the physical Internet has already involved the development of brochures, templates, website, internal working space to share information and mailing lists. Videos accessible on the website and YouTube include http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=op5fahhT4nQ#t=27 (Modulushca Project), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lltcWVNrjl0 (Physical Internet) and a talk at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2taJUbYUZQ#t=28 (TEDxBucharest) with an excellent explanation of a fully interconnected logistics network and the physical Internet.