The crucial role of a fully interoperable and intelligent transport system was emphasised at the 4th European Conference on ICT for Transport Logistics (ECITL) organised by the University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg GmbH (FHV) and the Hellenic Institute of Transport (HIT) of the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) and supported by several independent EU funded projects dealing with different issues in transport logistics.
During the conference, at which there was a considerable E.U. presence as well as participants from all over the world, from China to America, it was noted that in the field of freight transport and logistics a commonly agreed pan-European architecture for the exchange of data and information is gradually being formed. This is essentially a common language of communication to facilitate trade through integrated logistics operations, and strengthen interoperability between different systems and technologies, ultimately reducing costs and achieving wider (global) implementation.
One of the issues raised by the conference was the importance of Container Security Devices (CSD), which are expected to be used in the near future to monitor the location of containers, the condition of their contents, and whether they have been opened (or tampered with) during long journeys from one part of the world to another.
At the same time, the need to establish “green lanes” for transit through customs was highlighted, whereby containers equipped with CSD technology can move freely without physical checks. Negotiations are already ongoing with customs officials of large countries such as Britain, the US, China, and Belgium, as well as with the EU (the Taxation and Customs Union Directorate General), with the aim of rolling out “green lanes” to all customs authorities in the future.
The importance of internet use in transport logistics services was emphasised during the conference. A range of specialized internet information and interaction platforms were presented, which are soon expected to enter into general application. These cooperative platforms will aid those involved in transport in a) monitoring loads, b) locating return loads and exploiting empty trucks, c) exchanging transit documents with authorities and other stakeholders, and d) using other general services such as invoicing and specialist software.
In addition, a range of innovations and research results in various sectors of freight transport were presented, including technologies for monitoring special and hazardous loads, technologies for optimising vehicle routing, new business forms and ways of putting research into practice.
The conference took place on 13 and 14 October 2011 at The Met hotel in Thessaloniki. Participants also showed great interest in visiting the port of Thessaloniki and seeing a demonstration of the Container Management Information System at the Port Terminal. This innovative system developed by a Greek company is a very successful example of research being put into practice.
The local organiser of the conference was the Hellenic Institute of Transport, part of CERTH, the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas. The joint organiser was the University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg GmbH (FHV) in Austria, in partnership with the EU's general directorates of transport (MOVE) and research (RTD). The conference also received support from various independent European programmes, such as Logistics4Life, e-Freight, CASSANDRA, EURIDICE, INTEGRITY and SMART-CM.
The event was coordinated by ARTION Conferences & Events, and receive practical support from its media sponsors: the newspaper Kerdos, the magazines Logistics & Management and Car & Truck, and the portal Supply Chain World.