A new digital hub is now set to make the extremely complex logistical processes in efficient and climate-friendly intermodal transport even more clear and transparent for all stakeholders in the transport chain. Order, timetable and status data will be sent and received electronically and exchanged with authorised recipients barrier-free in real time. The data hub – which arose out of the major "Digitalisation of intermodal supply chains - CT 4.0" project – is available to all intermodal players and system users with immediate effect.
One interface for everything
What is so special about it is that companies which have subscribed to the data hub will get direct access to shipment data through a single technical link to the hub. This ensures straightforward communication between forwarders, operators, infrastructure providers and railway undertakings and offers lasting benefits for the internal and external procurement of information. In addition, the considerable expense of maintaining several different interfaces for the exchange of data between various business partners is now a thing of the past.
Data in one language
The content of the data hub is designed so that all data can now be uniquely identified by means of coordinated IDs – right across Europe. Terminals, intermediate stations and other reporting points have unique identifiers, while the timetables operated by all providers have the same time parameters and are available for the shared use of all participants. The project identified a total of 28 different reporting times along the intermodal transport chain, which means each user can always exchange the status information that is relevant for them.
Europe-wide status messages
Order data for all participants in the intermodal transport chain are provided in electronic form via suitable output media. This means that all actual status information about a transport unit, from booking to collection, can be queried, processed and analysed individually at any time. Based on data from the two systems – Leidis from DB Netz in Germany and TIS from RailNetEurope (RNE) for Europe – the connected railway undertakings can each make electronic train movement information across the entire European railway network available to all stakeholders in the transport chain. Current status information about the exact position and any deviation from the planned route helps users react to foreseeable delays at short notice and take further decisions where necessary. In the event that trains are delayed, important additional information regarding the availability of resources for scheduled onward transport is provided.
Access to timetable data for everyone
Businesses and organisations which want to publish timetable data on intermodal transport and make it available to the public free of charge can also connect to the data hub. In addition, the interface allows up-to-date timetable data of all connected operators to be retrieved at any time and integrated into other IT systems in a standardised format.
Benefits for everyone
Infrastructure operators, CT operators, railway undertakings and forwarding companies now have new ways of enhancing data transparency and thereby optimising the organisation of their shipments cost-effectively through a direct data connection.
Benefits for forwarders
- Just one electronic interface to cover for all intermodal transports: data exchange with all connected operators (and terminals) and integration of all data in in-house IT systems in real time
- Data transparency from booking (timetable information) to collection
- Receipt of optimised forecast data (Estimated Time of Pick-Up) in the event of irregularities in the transport process
- Transport units booked solely through the operator of choice (outlook)
Benefits for terminals
- Timely knowledge of the shipment volumes advised by operators and forwarders
- Better terminal slot planning thanks to resilient forecast data for train arrivals
- Receipt of advance initial and final legal information from road transport along the same lines as ramp management systems
- Improved allocation of truck arrivals and departures in the terminal, optimising the use of terminal resources
- Reduction in terminal waiting times and optimisation of terminal throughput times
- Avoidance of double craning operations
- Simple data maintenance and publication of the public terminal contact information
Benefits for railway undertakings
- More flexible scheduling of locomotives and drivers in the event of anticipated delays
- Transmission of electronic transport data even before the official train handover
- Electronic information about network disruption in Germany
Benefits for operators
- Integration of the truck into the rail transport chain
- Optimisation of short-term train capacity planning
- Train movement monitoring from departure to arrival of the train
Benefits for software providers
- Direct link to the information data with a large number of stakeholders
Open, established technologies were used for the technical implementation. That means the interface offers not only the very latest security, but also cutting-edge data transmission technology and interface formats.
OAuth 2.0 ensures that only authorised participants can communicate with the hub. All communication is encrypted by means of https over TLS 1.3. Technical documentation of the services is offered via OpenAPI. These files allow clients to be generated automatically for countless environments. The actual data are transmitted in JSON or XML format, with the content being defined in what is known as the EDIGES format. EDIGES is a data exchange format agreed between HUPAC, Kombiverkehr and Mercitalia which has been extensively expanded for use with the data hub.
The open standards are supported by almost all current languages and frameworks, whether Java with Spring Boot, Microsoft .NET, Python or PHP. That keeps the connection costs down and ensures the security of your investment going forward.
The planned operator company, DXI Intermodal GmbH, which is in the formation stage, is to take over organisation of the technical side of the data hub and market it to interested customers.
Your contact for further information
Katja Schräder, Project Management CT 4.0, +49 69 / 7 95 05-116, firstname.lastname@example.org
Christoph Büchner, Head of IT, +49 69 / 7 95 05-144, email@example.com