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Real-time visibility of airfreight cargo flows

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Geo-spatial type
Infrastructure Node
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport policies


Background & Policy context

Air freight is of great importance in global trade. A large part of the freight traffic is carried out by passenger aircrafts. The concept of a secure supply chain has been introduced by the European Union to ensure security in airfreight traffic. This leads to a high effort in terms of processing technology for the parties involved.

Airfreight is a fast, but costly way of distributing goods. Increasing security requirements are a significant cost factor. The new hybrid service developed in the CairGoLution project is designed to make the airfreight traffic of the future safer and help to keep the effort - and thus the costs - low.


The goal of the project is to obtain a control system along the entire transport chain, which detects integrity violations and reports them to a control centre. For this purpose, a communication-capable telematics module with identification, sensor and localization functions for air freight containers is developed. Innovative X-ray technology will be a key element here: A so-called "profile" of the freight container is to be created from x-ray images, which is stored decentrally and reliably reveals manipulations by comparison with a second x-ray image afterwards.


The development of the system was carried out according to the waterfall model. In the analysis phase the requirements for the technical system were determined. Then a draft of the new security service was issued. This was followed by the implementation of the technical components for the realization of the security service. The developments were tested and improved in several field tests, so that the project results were finally used under realistic conditions.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)
Funding Source
Federal Ministry of Education and Research


The air freight logistics chain was analysed and requirements for the overall technical system derived. For the realization of the technical system, individual technical components were designed and implemented. The technical components were subsequently integrated into a functional overall system. A security service was developed and a business model was designed. Finally, the results were transferred to real-world applications.

The most important result was the test flight in the DHL Express network between Leipzig, Bergamo and Napoli to check the technical functionality and to prove the feasibility.

The overall benefit of the CairGoLution project can be divided into security benefits and economic benefits. In terms of security, the results of this analysis help to detect and locate unauthorized accesses and route deviations in nearly real-time. The risk of security-relevant attacks in the airfreight logistics chain is reduced by the use of the new technology. Economically, the results contribute to increasing transparency in the airfreight logistics chain. Based on the generated data, stocks can be optimized globally. Damages can be registered in time and place, so that countermeasures can be defined.

Findings of the study are published in detail by several final reports of the project partners (German only) which are available online via the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB):

Technische Universität Darmstadt
"Supply chain and network management"

Deutsche Post DHL Research & Innovation GmbH

Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS
"Embedding innovative technology and design of an information service"

DoKaSch Gesellschaft für Forschung und Entwicklung mbH
"Concepts for information services in air freight traffic"

"Use of IT security systems for monitoring freight elements"



Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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