CHEMICAL manufacturer Arkema, French national freight operator Fret SNCF and technology supplier Everysens have announced the initial results of a tripartite project aimed at improving the performance of single wagon traffic by combining data.

Fret SNCF moves nearly 4000 insulated wagons for Arkema every year, but determining the estimated time of arrival (ETA) remains challenging. Arkema began a collaboration with Everysens in October 2020 to manage its rail logistics in real-time, with Everysens equipping Arkema’s full wagon fleet with GPS beacons to provide a reliable ETA that is updated in real time.

Arkema provided Fret SNCF with its own real-time GPS data gathered over three months on the route between Ghent in Belgium and Saint-Avre in France, which was compared with the freight operator’s own data. By cross-referencing the GPS points of the wagons with points crossed by the wagons such as stations, junctions, and workshops, it was possible to measure the actual transit time and to identify the choke points.

A second phase focused on comparing theoretical transit times with actual performance results.

“Everything that can be measured can be improved,” says Mr Pierre Boutin, director of the single wagon transport recovery programme at Fret SNCF. “Following this analysis, Fret SNCF has set up an action plan on this flow with our local entities and service providers. Our objective is to find the causes of wagon immobilisation and reduce these waiting times.”

“We are getting the return transports transmitted by SNCF to Everysens, which gives us complete visibility of the flows,” says Arkema director of global logistics procurement, Mr Yves Antoine. “This project will enable us to implement proactive operational management with our partners, to identify the locations impacting the performance of transport and to have reliable and contextualised data.”

“This project demonstrates the tremendous potential of expanded collaboration in rail freight,” says Everysens CEO, Dr Youness Lemrabet. “We are already discussing the possibility of industrialising this project for all Arkema’s flows, thus making single wagon transport more reliable and attractive.”