Representatives of ten European rail, logistics and research organisations have collaborated to launch a research and development project in Hannover, Germany, that aims to improve the performance of single-wagonload railfreight operations in Europe.
HaCon will be responsible for the coordination and supervision of the three-year Viable Wagonload Production Schemes (ViWaS) project, which will examine ways to increase 'last mile' efficiency through the use of containerisation and hybrid locomotives.
HaCon project leader Niklas Galonske said the challenges for single wagon traffic have grown sharply in the last few years.
"With ViWaS, we are about to develop trend-setting solutions for economically viable single wagon traffic operations with our partners from Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France and Belgium," Galonske said.
€2.9m of the project's €4.2m total will be provided by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.
The project, scheduled to be completed in August 2015, will also see the use of improved wagons, including the use of swap bodies based on Wascosa's Flex Freight system, using IT interface services for wagon-related telematic data to improve service quality and the availability of information.
The ViWaS project will also develop new management concepts for cost-effective bundling of combined and single wagon traffic.
Other partners in the project include Germany's Bentheim Railway, Zurich ETH technical school, Eureka Navigation Solutions of Germany, France's Fret SNCF, Consorzio IB Innovation of Italy, Belgium's Newopera, Switzerland's SBB Cargo, Berlin Technical University and Wascosa of Switzerland.
HaCon said in recent years that the market share of European single wagon traffic has declined due to high production costs and low quality standards, although rail transports by single wagon or wagon group are a vital part of the transport chain.
ViWaS is expected to help adapt the system to the requirements of modern logistics and new concepts, along with targeted improvements in multiple areas.