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TRIMIS

Safe InterModal Transport Across the Globe

SIMTAG

Safe InterModal Transport Across the Globe

Background & policy context: 

SIMTAG is part of the European Commission's Fifth Framework Programme for RTD, Competitive and Sustainable Growth Programme. The Project addresses Task 2.2.4/2 -establishment of harmonised security and safety procedures for freight intermodal transport operations.

SIMTAG is a programme of activities that will culminate in the development and commercialisation of technologies, processes and services to improve safety & security in Global Intermodal Cargo transportation. The transport sector is a key element in the development of a single market for Europe, and a major contributor in assisting the European Union to improve its competitive position in global markets.

 

The SIMTAG project is bringing innovation and technology to intermodal cargo transport in general and the transportation of dangerous and vulnerable cargo in particular. Part funded by the European Union, the consortium of blue-chip companies is investing in the future of intermodal transportation, bringing enhanced safety and security for the protection of people, property and the environment.

Objectives: 

SIMTAG aimed to improve the safety, security and efficiency of intermodal transport. Its objectives were to demonstrate

  • that these improvements were compatible with commercial efficiency;
  • that standards could be adopted, provided sufficient commercial benefits existed to encourage development and take-up;
  • that commercial solutions could be made available and globally effective through existing cost-effective technologies;
  • that new, commercially-viable technologies could be exploited;
  • and that commercial confidentiality and competition could be maintained whilst introducing new standards, process and technology.

The SIMTAG project addresses the freight element of transport and, in particular, the transportation of dangerous goods and those that may be vulnerable to interference from terrorism, although the systems and procedures developed will be applicable to all types of cargo. SIMTAG will address the end-to-end supply chain for both single-mode and multi-modal transport, including the security of at-source packing and loading procedures. It will endeavour to enhance the practicalities, safety and security of seamless transportation irrespective of mode, with a special emphasis on eliminating delay in the supply chain and the provision of enabling procedures to encourage modal shift from road to rail, sea and inland waterway. By providing both information and tracking facilities, SIMTAG will help to reduce delays in ports and terminals and make a significant contribution to a reduction in bottlenecks.

Methodology: 

The products of the SIMTAG programme will include:

- The SIMTAG Project sets out to reduce risk and improve efficiency in Intermodal Cargo Movements. It starts from the premise that inefficiency and risk – whether safety or security - stem from actual activities associated with the movement not matching the planned activities.

- This divergence of 'physical' activities from 'information' (i.e. planned) activities, happens when monitoring, control and management breakdown. In today’s Intermodal flows these activities are sporadic, paper based and largely uninformed. SIMTAG will change all this.

- By applying technology to cargo, the project will integrate a series of sensing, telecommunications and data processing technologies in a manner and at a price-point not previously achieved, opening the possibility for near real-time and near continuous cargo monitoring, making, for the first time, effective in transit management and the goal a Cargo 'BlackBox' viable.

- SIMTAG is not limited to the application of technology however. Since 11th September 2001, security checks at ports are being greatly enhanced with consequent delays. By examining and recommending improved procedures along the full length of the supply chain (including the events prior to loading the container) SIMTAG will enable the receiving authorities to verify the events of the journey through the reading of the 'BlackBox data'.

Institution Type:
Institution Name: 
European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN)
Type of funding:
Key Results: 

The Consortium devised a web-enabled Portal, including core services (essential to the control of what SIMTAG itself offers) and added-value services (provided by selected third parties, accessible through the Portal and appropriate to particular cargo movements). The stand-alone result embodied in the Portal was supported by subsidiary results, namely: a high-level requirement specification for the SIMTAG system; version 1 of the Portal developed for use in Demonstrator 1; version 2 of the Portal, with increased functionality beyond that in Portal version 1, developed for use in Demonstrator 2; the functional Portal architecture; and an XML Schema used during the second demonstrator as an interface between the Savi Transportation Security System (a web-based application providing on-line tracking, security monitoring and management of cargo containers and their contents and other assets at nodal points in the transit) and the SIMTAG system to register or update Journey Plans automatically in the SIMTAG system on the basis of information passed to it from the Savi system.

It was only in the last leg of the journey in the Africa to Tilbury transits, when the Savi system ended, that SIMTAG operated on its own and addressed the 'last mile' from Tilbury on the Thames estuary to Hornsey in north London. The SIMTAG project has also produced a supply chain model, incorporating a risk model; a specialised remote telematics device certificated for use in ATEX Zone 1 explosion-risk environments; and the platform for launch of a commercial product – the SIMTAG Portal. The SIMTAG Portal is being commercialised and will be launched through a new company, Intermode Services Limited. Members of the SIMTAG Consortium have formed this company. Its window for exploitation has been recognised as narrow, if it is to take advantage of the current lack of apparent competitors. Intermode Services Limited has already made exciting progress in confidential discussions with a number of service providers, starting with track-and-trace, emergency response, hazardous goods and insurance applications and involving global functionality. The prospect is for SIMTAG's commercial Portal and associated activities to go live in the next few months.

Policy implications

The principal result of the project, the SIMTAG Portal and its associated methodology and services, will have wide use in the freight transport industry. Its underlying methodology, based on a Registered Journey Plan for each container being shipped, includes an Event Log (through which to monitor and record any deviations from the Plan as to location, security-seal status, temperature or other selected attributes such as can be monitored through track-and-trace services) and a strongly practicable process for alerting and facilitating emergency response.

These features will enable manufacturers, shippers, freight forwarders, freight integrators, transport operators, warehousemen and depot operators, consignees, emergency services and insurers to gain very significant benefits. The reduction or elimination of the need to re-key data relating to the cargo during the course of a movement will result in large and cumulative cost savings to the benefit of all parties in the supply chain. The accessibility of services specialising in hazardous cargoes (as to their characteristics, proper handling requirements, clean-up guidance and risk alerts), together with information about the exact location and status of the cargo through the SIMTAG Portal, will enable authorised emergency services to make more informed choices as to how to deal with, for example, a chemical spillage, thereby providing greatly improved protection to local communities and the environment.

Intermodal

The principal result of the project, the SIMTAG Portal and its associated methodology and services, will have wide use in the freight transport industry. Its underlying methodology, based on a Registered Journey Plan for each container being shipped, includes an Event Log (through which to monitor and record any deviations from the Plan as to location, security-seal status, temperature or other selected attributes such as can be monitored through track-and-trace services) and a strongly practicable process for alerting and facilitating emergency response.

These features will enable manufacturers, shippers, freight forwarders, freight integrators, transport operators, warehousemen and depot operators, consignees, emergency services and insurers to gain very significant benefits. The reduction or elimination of the need to re-key data relating to the cargo during the course of a movement will result in large and cumulative cost savings to the benefit of all parties in

Partners: 
  • Thomas Miller & Co. Ltd, UK
  • TRI-MEX AS, Norway
  • European Road Transport Telematics Implementation Coordination Organisation S.C.R.L. (ERTICO), Belgium
  • BP Lavera snc, France
  • United Transport Tankcontainers Ltd, Netherlands
  • Isotank Services Ltd, UK
  • DEKRA Consulting GmbH, Germany
  • METTLE SARL, France 
  • Independent Container Line, Europe NV Crompton NV
Organisation: 
Thomas Miller & Co LTD
Address: 
International House, 26 Creechurch Lane
Zipcode: 
EC3A 5BA
City: 
London
Contact country:
Telephone: 
+44-2072-042023
Fax Number: 
+44-2072-042593