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Hitchhiking Lives On — at Least for Cargo

Photo: Digital Vision

Okay, so hitch-hiking has plainly faded away — at least for human beings. But what about for cargo? German trucking companies are facing a big problem, according to ScienceDaily: “Around 20 percent of trucks on German roads are traveling empty, at a huge cost to the transportation companies concerned.” Fortunately, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM have proposed a solution: “a prototype software platform that will enable freight service providers to set up a collective organization with shared access to orders.” The existing online freight exchanges can only handle single shipments, which does little to solve the problem. “A single shipment might be too small to justify the extra mileage, but if it can be combined with a second shipment, the trip could be worthwhile after all,” says Dr. Heiner Ackermann, one of the researchers. “Our auction platform allows multiple offerers and takers to communicate in real time. It enables them to pick the most suitable offers to fill their spare capacity, which in turn reduces costs.”  A pilot study using data from a major German freight carrier indicates that the platform has cost-saving potential. (HT: Eric Jones)