NUI Galway to address Market Efficiencies in the Road Freight Sector

Tuesday, 7 May 2002

Release date: 7 May, 2002

NUI Galway to address Market Efficiencies in the Road Freight Sector

A team of researchers at the Department of Information Technology at NUI, Galway is currently investigating a unique approach to the improvement of efficiency in the haulage industry. The latest statistics* from the CSO show that the total vehicle kilometres travelled by Irish goods vehicles was 1,023 million, of which approximately 62% were on loaded journeys with the remaining 38% on empty journeys. Total activity in terms of tonnes-kilometres was 7,016 million, from which an estimate of 12.9 million was loaded journeys.

The problem of 'empty running' and full utilisation of truck capacity is one that faces all hauliers with the average lading factor (capacity utilisation) at only 60%. The team at NUI, Galway is seeking to develop software that will enable the fleet manager to optimise route planning, fleet capacity and cost effectiveness. The proposed V-LAB (or Virtual Logistics Multi-Agent Broker) integrates the capabilities of mobile intelligent agents, AI-based optimisation, GPS positioning and time-stamping and distributed object technology. A prototype system is planned for the real time brokerage and co-ordination of 'on-the-move' road freight carriers.

Over one billion tonne-kilometres of road freight transport is generated in the EU and in this market alone a 10% effective increase in capacity would mean a reduction of about 100 million tonne-kilometre journeys and significant reductions in CO2 emissions.

"The research programme investigates the usage of innovative technology through the convergence of computing, communications and satellite-based positioning technologies to address the apparent inefficiency in the operation of road freight haulage" said Dr. Michael Madden of the Department of Information Technology, NUI, Galway. "A solution to this problem would mean very large and quantifiable benefits for fleet operators and indeed the economy as a whole."

The product will serve as a broker between the fleet management agent and the manufacturers and shippers and will, through analysis of route planning, capacity, special requirements for haulage such as refrigeration, ensure that fleets are maximising capacity usage and increasing efficiency.

Funding for the project of €500,000 was received from Enterprise Ireland.

--ENDS—

For further information: Maire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091-750418

*CSO Road Freight Transport Survey 1999

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