What you need for optimal rail tracking and tracing

March 9, 2022

Today in France, 90% of goods go by road. But some countries know how to take advantage of rail freight, notably Germany, which has seen a 40% increase in traffic in ten years. How did they do it? 

Did you know that? Today in France, 90% of goods are transported by road. While some countries know how to take advantage of rail freight, notably Germany, which has seen a 40% increase in traffic in ten years. How did they do it? 

Indeed, this decline is not irreversible: the integration of digital by incumbent operators has contributed greatly to this development by enabling them to optimise the use of equipment and the network.

In addition, the operational challenges, which concern operators, shippers and wagon keepers alike, are major: the aim is to respond to even more demanding pressures from end customers, both in terms of services and competitiveness, by optimising the use of fleets.

So why is rail freight still the least attractive mode of transport today despite its digitalisation? 

A lack of traceability

There is an enormous lack of visibility in the railway, a constraint that is very prohibitive since shippers have little or no real-time tracking information to monitor the flow, with the risk that some wagons may be temporarily "lost" in the wild. Conversely, when they do have tracking, it is not always instantaneous or digitised so that the data can be easily used. 

However, the digitisation of rail freight activity, materialised by the traceability of the transport infrastructure and its cargo, benefits all the players involved in the value chain:

  • Freight operators will thus be able to align the transport offer with real needs, but also to monitor certain key indicators (temperature, shocks, weight) in real time in order to have better visibility of wagon conditions.
  • Operators are therefore adapting to shippers' demand in order to offer them a tailor-made offer, which represents an undeniable gain for the latter. 
  • As for shippers, they can monitor their cargo and anticipate any delivery delays and impacts on their theoretical rotation with their end customers. 
  • For wagon keepers, traceability is a means of anticipating breakdowns and therefore maintenance operations, in addition to being able to better manage the availability of railcars thanks to a perfect knowledge of their geographical location and their condition.

Traceability and transport visibility are therefore strategic assets for all rail players, so why is it not enough to make rail freight "attractive"? 

Rail visibility but still partial 

While visibility in the road sector is widespread, today there are very few visibility platforms that make transport visibility in the rail sector. 

Rail transportation visibility is based more on the tracking of a car and the GPS messages it emits. This car is then taken as a representative of the entire train. But this is not enough: this poses problems of tracking performance with few messages and the possibility of data gaps. Tracking can also be completely erroneous if the selected wagon turns out not to be part of the train to be tracked.  

In the rail sector, the need to improve real-time monitoring of trains is therefore still a high priority. Players want to have the most instantaneous visibility possible of their trains from the moment they leave the departure station to the arrival at the final destination.


How Everysens puts the light back on your railcars

At Everysens, the promotion of rail transport and the attractiveness of this mode is part of our DNA. Everysens has developed a transport TMS to enable shippers and forwarders to meet all their transport management challenges, but not with a generic classic TMS. 

Everysens offers the first collaborative, predictive and real-time TMS on the market. This platform digitizes a set of transport processes, simplifies exchanges as well as decision support thanks to IoT and IA technologies. 

To respond to this lack of visibility in the railway, Everysens has put into production a calculation of the position of the convoy based on all the wagons. This improvement allows us to detect alerts as early as possible (delay, wagon spread...). 

Thanks to our IoT expertise and the interoperability of our platform on all the sensors on the market, we have the convoy calculation engine best adapted to the IoT sensors on the market and therefore the most efficient.

The understanding of railway use cases and mainly the difference between the full train and the single wagon, which allows us to have the most adapted convoy calculation engine to the shippers' needs. 

Want to learn more? Schedule a meeting with our team.