Concept of ‘Less than wagon load’ (LWL) transport solution
The most break-through innovative concept of this project is linked to the setup of a rail freight transport solution for pallets from the Antwerp logistical clusters to other industrial clusters in Europe.
Existing LTL (less than truck load) trucking solution:
- Pallets are transported from site A to site E by using a truck
- Pallets are transported from site B to site F by using a truck
- First mile: pallets from site A are transported to cross docking pallet warehouse C by using a truck, pallets from site B are transported to cross docking pallet warehouse C by using a truck
- Long haul: the pallets from A and B are grouped and transported in a pallet wagon from warehouse C to warehouse D by rail
- Last mile: pallets from site A are delivered by truck from cross docking pallet warehouse D to site E and pallets from site B are delivered by truck from cross docking pallet warehouse D to site F
It is clear that there is more handling related to the LWL solution, but there is a clear cost advantage of using rail freight instead of road freight on long distances.
The theoretical LWL rail solution is 35% cheaper than the trucking solution. With an occupancy level of the long haul trains of 70%.
The savings can be more important if the customer have a rail connected warehouse or DC. In that case the pallet wagon can be transported to the client warehouse, avoiding one additional pallet handling. Also in cases where an additional grouping of pallets is foreseen in the trucking solution, the LWL solution will become more competitive.
Developing an automated pallet loading and unloading technology for wagons will further decrease the additional handling costs. This new automated loading & unloading technology for pallet wagons will be developed starting from the existing automatic truck loading systems.