Short sea and inland waterway transport are not sufficiently accepted by shippers and forwarders even if the price for transport is much lower than with other modes. Improved exchange of information between parties in the market would improve the integration of short sea and inland waterways into intermodal transport chains and enhance the quality and reliability required for their acceptance in the market.
The project had two main objectives:
- the application and installation of the Interconnectivity Manager (IM) developed in the BOPCOM project to support automated Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) between several internal and external partners with and without their own Electronic Data Processing (EDP) system;
- the development and demonstration of a set of tools enabling the electronic, dynamic and interactive support of business decisions.
The main results of PROSIT are the installation of the IM and the development and testing of a new tool, named ProShip, which uses the IM for information exchange with customers or transport industry. The ProShip tool is able to support:
- the brokerage between the demand and the supply side, including the pre-calculation of alternatives and the administration of commitments or orders;
- the comparison of the agreed and planned transport with reality, including information on performance, control of deviations and automated transfer of information to the customer.
The PROSIT products have been studied in four scenarios:
- the Rhine-North Sea scenario and the Finland-Rhine scenario, both focusing on intermodal transport chains including inland waterway transport and seagoing barges,
- the Mediterranean scenario, focusing on container traffic, and
- the Baltic scenario, focusing on the integration between hinterland transport and short sea shipping.
Installations and pilot usage of the IM included utilisation for EDI purposes and the foundation of an internet-based integrated shipping management application.
Installations and pilot usage of the ProShip tool included:
- shipping price request;
- business negotiation process, including booking by the customer and confirming the booking by the operator;
- matching empty capacity and cargo;
- satellite-based tracking and tracing of cargo in order to obtain information on the estimated time of arrival and current status of the transport;
- dangerous cargo management, including announcing, verifying and administering information.
Visualisation of cargo positions and vessel movements has been recognised as a major success of the ProShip pilots.
The systems applied in PROSIT are all based on electronic data communication and interchange. Electronic communication is expected to make the transport industry able to cope with the major changes and challenges arising from increasing trade volumes, liberalisation, environmental policy and the integration towards a truly networking economy, accelerated by the breakthrough of the Internet.
While e-logistics and e-commerce can be identified as clear goals of the large companies in transport and shipping, the tools developed within PROSIT have provided valuable solutions as well as easy-to-use but low-cost applications for the participating SMEs. The business activities of the SMEs participating in PROSIT have been improved or extended. This is illustrated by the fact that IM and ProShip installations and applications will be kept operating after the end of the project. The users intend to make improvements and refinements to these applications.