Massification Project

Massification Project

The massification pilot aims to develop a new collaborative methodology supporting a group of shippers to bundle their goods on a same train towards one destination. The “massification” concept into a logistics organization aims to bundle goods on the same transport mode with a capacity. It is relevant to trial the concept on the railway as the “massified transport mode”.

It is relevant to trial the concept on the railway as the “massified transport mode”.

The methodology has been developed using the Dourges (France) – UK corridor as initial pilot.

Participant shippers’ typologies:

The following shippers’ typologies have been used in the Dourges-UK pilot: glass making, agriculture / vegetables, tyres, water, sportswear, hardware and decoration retailer, and consumer goods retailer. However, the massification project methodology doesn’t restrict any type of shippers’ typology

Problem to solve: 

  • Overall lack of multimodal transport knowledge in Small and Medium Enterprises and sometimes in Key Accounts
  • A high cost of break loading
  • Rail freight is not sufficiently flexible (organization, delivery, controls).
  • Rail freight demands a new organization in the whole supply-chain

Even if the “massification” project yearns for demonstrating the feasibility of a rail shift, nowadays the rail and barge transportation remains under-utilized due to a lack of awareness.

The massification experiment followed a collaborative round table meeting methodological approach, towards the organization of consecutive face-to-face meetings. This part of the document aims to describe thoroughly the outcomes of each meeting with the shippers mentioned above in order to address different issues and outcomes that will be stated in the following sub-part.

Main Outcomes per Workshop

Main Outcomes per Workshop

Lack of coordination among logistic services providers operating in the Cluster network of hubs, terminals and infrastructures, leading to the following problems:

  • Underutilized terminal capacity by shippers, both handling and storage areas.
  • Lack of synergies among terminals and hubs in the network to develop common value-added services.
  • Limited volumes to implement fully efficient intermodal transport connections from Cluster’s hubs to key external destinations.
  • Lack of synchronized operation of transport and logistics services at Cluster level, limiting responsiveness and increasing delays and waiting times at nodes.
  • Higher costs due to missing consolidation of shipments and under-optimized load factors.


Business opportunity:

Based on the analysis carried out, it can be observed that there are currently in Europe favourable political and socio-economic conditions to the creation of logistic Clusters, opening up opportunities for CluCS application:

  • Aggregation of terminal networks, on regional basis or cantered on key hubs, to better organize intermodal flows (e.g., RailPort in the Gothenburg area, Brabant Intermodal, HIL Proximity Terminal Network between Bologna and Parma).
  • Initiatives aiming at Europe-wide coordination of terminals, such as the Inland Links platform promoted by the Port of Rotterdam to increase intermodal connections between inland terminals and contained ports.
  • National policies to strengthen the role of ports as central hubs for the aggregation and coordination of terminal networks in the port hinterland, as implemented by the Italian Government with the recent Decree no. 169/2016 which creates “Port Network Authorities”.

Value Proposition:

Build scale for horizontal collaboration through the bundling of freight volumes.

Massification project focus on to overcome barriers and enable real collaboration to bundle shippers’ transportation needs with other shippers, to:

  • Eliminate inefficiencies in road transportation, e.g., increasing load factor, reducing empty km.
  • Shift freight from road to rail and other modes.
  • Lower freight transportation environmental and social impact (e.g., CO2 emissions, congestion, safety risks).


Throughout the massification project a new way of collaboration, is being experimented to reach a common goal: Optimization of transportation plan, reduction of carbon foot print, and improvement of the freight cost in a collaborative approach.

The lead of the massification project remains a huge challenge since it deals with a pilot project without any previous experience. The guarantee of a success is not assured even if great opportunities are created.

The massification embeds broadly a collaborative methodology to enhance shipper’s collaboration with each other shipper. It represents a great challenge as well as a great opportunity. However, massification advantages are solid arguments to commit each other. Since the beginning of the project, all shippers have endorsed to collaborate with each other for the stake of the project.

The massification project started from shippers’ needs that are not common in the logistics schemes. In the massification project, shippers speak directly with the rail freight operator and the terminal manager. While, usually, shippers are only in touch with their logistics providers who handle directly all rail freight stakeholders. This new scheme upsets tradition which represents a new disruptive model. Moreover, gathering only shippers in the massification project fosters a collaborative approach. Inclusion of other stakeholders such as carriers, 3PL, 4PL, are under consideration.

The pilot is evolving in a good dynamic, and concrete results are expected on second half of 2018 with the support of the regional rail freight operator.

Regarding the gain-sharing issue, the model guarantees shippers a fair sharing regarding engaged volume. It represents a strategic key in the massification approach since it brings benefit to the collaborative methodology.

Lastly, organizing different meetings with a variety of shippers enables to build a kind of a broader methodology, able to be duplicated in other TEN-T hubs. The massification approach brings a great opportunity to other hubs since it allows sensitizing shippers to the multimodality transportation as an answer to social, economic and environmental issues. It enhances shippers to assume an active role in their logistics organization rather than delegating to logistics providers. The massification project creates a solution to rationalize flows between hubs, to ship smoothly and to improve connection relying on shipper’s demand.

Next steps:

Regarding the Clusters 2.0 project, the methodology developed throughout the massification project has to be duplicated to other hubs in the frame of the Living Lab:

  • Duisport
  • Zaragoza
  • Bologna
  • Trieste
  • Trelleborg
  • Piraeus

Euralogistic presented at the end of July 2018 the purpose of the massification project and its methodology to Duisport, the hugest inland multimodal platform in Europe. This meeting enabled the testing of the methodology for the first duplication. Duisburg represented a great interest for French shippers and a line could be created between Dourges and Duisburg.


EU Flag

Clusters 2.0 project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 723265

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