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Dynamic Consolidation

Currently, two transport concepts are being pursued in rail freight: Block trains and wagonload freight. Each concept has got its specific advantages – however, the concept of “parallel half-trains” is an interesting alternative.

Block trains are suitable for bulk goods transport: Wagons of the same type or with the same freight are brought together at the starting point and brought to the destination in the same constellation. This transport concept is quick and cost-effective, but also inflexible. Wagonload freight, however, provides the individual transport of single wagons by freight trains running according to timetables. Yet, losses of time, misdirected wagons or even the loss of wagons are the other side of the coin where such flexibility is hoped for. Half-trains running parallel to each other, a concept mainly used in public transport until now, could be a viable alternative for rail freight.

Objective of the Project

In this project the requirements are to be established for the implementation of parallel rail freight trains running from Germany in an easterly direction. For parallel half-trains several wagons are coupled and routed together according to place of origin and destination. Then these parallel half-trains are joined together or decoupled at predetermined consolidation points. Flexible routing means each route can be changed so that the train can be routed quickly and at minimal cost. In this project a logistic concept with IT-supported planning tools is being developed taking the connection Duisburg to Moscow as an example. The concept will allow the introduction of continuously operating and flexibly routed rail freight traffic – not only from Germany towards the East, but also to important urban centers in Europe.

Specific Innovations

The researchers are working on decision support tools to implement the concept of dynamically routed rail freight traffic. The main task is to develop the corresponding software. A program makes it possible to delay some decisions about which routes and transport carriers have to be used. Moreover, a tracking & tracing system is being developed which will allow the localization of single load units via GPS/Galileo. This system not only enables positioning data to be transferred to the customer, it also offers the possibility to notice delays or other schedule irregularities and to start relevant countermeasures.

Partners in the Project

Rhenus AG & Co. KG




w3logistics AG


University of Duisburg-Essen

Existing transport concepts for rail freight are under close scrutiny. The alternative is to have dynamically routed “parallel half-trains”.

Contact person

Prof. Dr. Bernd Noche


University of Duisburg-Essen


Jia Hu


University of Duisburg-Essen



Aimen Remida


University of Duisburg-Essen


Facts & Figures

Start of the Project


Project Duration
60 months

Project Volume
1,2 Mio. Euro

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