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Rail-Flow platform for the exchange of resources in rail freight transport.

Frankfurt, November 10, 2021

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Growth in rail freight transport requires high utilization of locomotive resources.

Within logistics, the rail logistics market stands out due to its particularly high growth and innovation potential. However, due to these high growth rates and prospects, the intensity of competition in rail freight transport has increased significantly in recent years. Furthermore, rail freight transport is in intense competition with road transport. In addition to that, the commercial pressure on rail freight market players is growing due to constant margin erosion and inefficiencies in production.
On average, only 70% of a mainline locomotive is utilized, while the included monthly cost for a locomotive is €40,000. One way to maximize the efficiency of locomotive resources is to use a marketing platform for free capacities. In this way, the utilization of locomotives and the market transparency can be significantly increased, the organizational effort for players in rail freight transport reduced, and comprehensive process standards implemented.

Rail-Flow successfully tests the feasibility of a resource sharing platform.

In order to further substantiate this potential to determine the requirements of market participants for such a platform in a dedicated manner, and to weigh up the opportunities and risks, Rail-Flow conducted a feasibility study from 01.05.2021 to 31.10.2021 under the title “Rail-Flow Platform for Resource Sharing in Rail Freight Transport”. The study was funded by the “Distr@l: Digitalisierung stärken – Transfer leben ” program of the Hessian Ministry for Digital Strategy and Development, and the Wirtschafts- und Infrastrukturbank Hessen, both of which support small and medium-sized enterprises in projects in the field of digital innovations and research and development. The study was conducted under the title “Rail-Flow Platform for Resource Exchange in Rail Freight Transport”.

For the feasibility study, the economic market potential was determined by means of a market analysis. In addition, further aspects regarding the legal and cultural feasibility as well as the requirements of the stakeholders for the platform were recorded in the course of expert interviews and workshops. Rail-Flow used this information to develop a prototype of the platform using agile software development in just six two-week sprints. The prototype already contained the basic functions of the platform and could be used to test its technical feasibility.

The successfully conducted study delivered a positive conclusion with regard to the feasibility of a platform for the exchange of free locomotives between players in rail freight transport, who showed great interest in the application. The different methods used to review the potential ensured that the various aspects that determine the success of the application were fully considered for potential further development of the platform.

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