Multimodal TRAnsportation supporteD by EGNOS

Background & Objectives

Europe’s transport policy has been characterised by liberalisation and harmonisation over the years, which has shaped the current transport system. Globalisation and the concept of a wider Europe create further challenges. Rapidly increasing freight transport contributes to growth and employment but also causes congestion, accidents, noise and pollution. M-TRADE targets European policies in support of transport’s sustainable development and short-sea-shipping promotion. In the ‘2001 White Paper on Transport’ mid-term review, the European objective was to shift to more environmentally friendly modes, especially on long distance jounrneys and on congested corridors, in favour of co-modality (i.e. the efficient use of different modes on their own and or in multimodal integration in the European transport system).

The ‘Programme for the Promotion of Short Sea Shipping’ recommends measures aimed at enhancing the quality of transport, by increasing the reliability throughout the whole transport chain and facilitating administrative procedures. A common vision is that intelligent transport systems (ITS) can play a key role. Advanced solutions based on GNSS, coupled with other technologies such as RFID, can contribute towards reaching an optimal and sustainable use of resources. Services for remote localisation of cargo in all modes allow a reliable tracking of both journey and goods, thus decreasing the need for individual controls, and contributing to an efficient and safe management of supply chains.

M-TRADE is the European platform to promote EGNOS and Galileo in the freight transport community. The project identified applications reflecting the user needs and maximising EGNOS/Galileo differentiators. It also analysed and validated the use of EGNOS commercial services for remote assets and the tracking and tracing of goods.


M-TRADE developed an end-to-end solution providing user-oriented services for freight containers and tracking and tracing. The M-TRADE solution’s basic elements are: - commercial-off-the-shelf components; - standard protocols and interfaces; - two onboard units using GPS/EGNOS assisted via GPRS and integrating RFID; - web-based applications to provide service access. The project implemented a real-life demonstration to validate the M-TRADE solution and services in operative pilots, involving representative actors of the freight transport domain. Four real-life pilots were set-up over combined maritime-road-rail-river freight chains based on users’ interests and covering operational scenarios:

  1. Pilot 1 – Bologna Freight Village: Remote monitoring of locomotives position and manoeuvres during shunting operations.
  2. Pilot 2 – Rail and road (Brescia-Bologna-Modena) chain: Tracking and tracing and temperature monitoring of a reefer carrying perishable goods.
  3. Pilot 3 – Danube River (Vienna-Budapest-Vienna): Tracking and tracing of a river vessel loaded with petrol, through three European countries (Austria, Slovakia and Hungary).
  4. Pilot 4 – Rail chain (Genoa-Ferrandina-Dordrecht-Zeehaven): Tracking and tracing a tank rail wagon loaded with oil products through four European countries (Italy, Switzerland, Germany and The Netherlands).

Demonstration results were analysed in terms of main enablers: technology, EGNOS/Galileo benefits and differentiators, user acceptance and awareness, and market and business opportunities for EGNOS and Galileo services/products in the sector. Moreover, the project also evaluated the M-TRADE solution’s introduction in customs and border control applications. The M-TRADE work was deployed through three sequential phases.

  • Phase I: Critical analysis, performing the analysis of GNSS applications for freight transportation.
  • Phase II: Implementation, elaborating an action plan, developing the solution and implementing the real pilots.
  • Phase III: Results analysis: based on the demonstration results, it produced recommendations and priorities for the exploitation of M-TRADE services in the domain, from the initial introduction of EGNOS to the further addition of Galileo.


The M-TRADE objective is to analyse the use of EGNOS/Galileo in freight transport applications.

Ms Antonella Di Fazio
Via Tiburtina 965
00156 Rome IT RM
EUSPA Project Officer: 
Stefano Scarda
Total Cost: 
2 250 000 €
EU Contributions: 
1 239 000 €
Project Call: 
FP6 2nd Call
Contract Number: 

Work performed & results

M-TRADE validated the use of EGNOS Commercial Services for remote asset and the tracking and tracing of goods. M-TRADE developed an end-to-end solution, demonstrated it in real-life operative scenarios and evaluated its introduction in customs and border control applications. Two different onboard units were developed, using GPS/EGNOS assisted via GPRS and integrating RFID technologies. M-TRADE tracking and tracing services are conceived to cope with safety and efficiency operative needs, in line with standards and regulations, and to exploit ‘market’ value for EGNOS/Galileo differentiators, i.e. dangerous goods, perishables and remote assets. M-TRADE performed four pilots over European freight chains, combining maritime, road, rail and river. Gathered user feedbacks showed friendly service access and benefits in operations, and provided recommendations for enhancements. M-TRADE also studied the case of EGNOS/Galileo introduction in the customs domain. The analysis evaluated user interests and identified opportunities for GNSS to provide benefits in customs operations, supporting anti-fraud enforcement and trade flows control. M-TRADE is the first step towards the operative use of GNSS in multimodal freight applications and shows the way for future progress in the regulated applications domains.

Photo Gallery

  • Pilot 4 tank wagon carrying chemical products

  • Pilot 4 road-rail chain for food

HiTEC - Vereinigung High Tech Marketing
via donau
Kayser-Threde GmbH
GMV Sistemas S.A.
Indra Espacio S.A.
Thales Alenia Space - France
Bilk Kombiterminál
Interporto Bologna S.p.A.
Sogei-societa Generale D'informatica Spa
Trenitalia – Direzione Generale Operativa Logistica
TTS Italia – Associazione Italiana della Telematica per i Trasporti e la Sicurezza
LogicaCMG Nederland B.V.

Updated: Oct 10, 2018