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Physical Internet for freigh transport

The emerging Physical Internet concept suggests changes to improve the sustainability of freight transport. Cargo owners and forwarders will not book transport services for the whole transport chain in advance. New actors will take responsibility for transports that are optimal to the society.

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Cargo owners and forwarderswill deliver cargo to a hub (i.e. a port or terminal), and actors in the hub will do consolidations and book transports that are optimal for the society rather than sub-optimal for a single cargo owner or freight forwarder. Transport optimisation will be done close to departure based on real-time data, and all cargo units in the hub and all transport needs will be taken into account. Due to this optimisation, load factors will increase, and the number of transport means on the road decrease. The use of environmental friendly transport means and modes will be prioritized.

The cargo will dynamically be routed via several hubs if re-consolidations and transhipments in these hubs arrange for more optimal transport. Each hub takes decisions on whenever the cargo is to be routed to another hub or directly to its final destination. Access to standardised and in time information is crucial for correct decisions and control.

Due to the dynamic routing, there may be more re-consolidations and transhipments. Thus, there may be a need for more automated cargo handling in hubs.


SINTEF has developed concepts, information models and information messages that are crucial for the implementation of the Physical Internet concept, among others the Common Framework for ICT in Transport and Logistics, which is standardised as a part of ISO 19845.

SINTEF also plays an important role in European projects and initiatives where the Physical Internet concept is developed further and demonstrated in trials.

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