Our company which has the mission of developing software solutions has worked with the Transports Engineering Department of the University of  Reggio Calabria with the objective to develop models  for optimizing the costs in managing logistics. After this collaboration, our company has invented and patented a new system for managing the logistics of the goods exchanging by means of railway transport.

Our first consideration concerned the cost requested by the management of the goods exchanging by means of the actual railway network. This cost is the most affecting cost of the goods transport by railway compared to the cost involved by the road transport and is substantially due to the timing for pick-up and delivery  of the railway wagons and for the composition of convoys in the intermodal exchanging centers.

In the patented system the single railway wagon of a convoy is transformed from a passive element of a convoy which always needs a locomotive to be moved to an autonomous element capable to move autonomously from a point of pick-up/delivery to a near terminal railway station where the wagon will be inserted in a convoy to be composed or in a transiting convoy. In particular, the wagons will be able to automatically couple or uncouple to/from the convoy under the supervision of a computer system. We found that thanks to this new system the costs are considerably reduced and the timings for pick-up, transporting and delivering goods are efficiently reduced. Moreover, the advantages of the goods exchange by railway, compared to the goods exchange by roads, are very much enhanced:

  • Reduction of the energy cost (from 50% up to 70%);
  • High reduction of the employees costs;
  • Reduction of the costs for managing and maintaining the transportation;
  • Reduction of the travel timing;
  • Reduction of the environment and social costs.

The implementation of the new system in the actual railway network requires also changes of the railway regulations, such as certification of the autonomous coupling maneuver, the management of the convoys, the shunting, et al.

Anyway, this kind of changes and consequent implementation can be more rapidly realized in Ports and dry Ports where the automatic wagon can be used as a shuttle wagon (AGW).

At this stage we are evaluating the real implementation and managing costs of the new system and the costs for the operations in the ports.

The comparison between the AGW (railway) and AGV (road) has shown four advantages in using this new system:

  1. The cost of acquisition is very reduced (of about 1/3)
  2. The maintaining cost is highly reduced
  3. The velocity of transferring of the wagon from the port dock to a storage place is higher
  4. The precision in positioning the wagon near port cranes is very high


The item 3 allows that the storage place can be also slightly far from the dock.

The item 4 concerns the positioning of the wagon at a distance of centimeters from the convoy, so that the cranes operations of picking-up and delivering containers from the wagon occur in a completely automatic mode, with no need of an operator. This consideration is true both for dock cranes and for the cranes of the square of the port for temporarily containers’ storage.

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