The upgraded system is now in use with several container shipping lines and transport operators, some of whom are using it daily to manage fleet operations involving hundreds of vehicles each.
The PARIS system works by creating the optimal transport plan, automatically matching import container loads with export reloads, allocating containers to rail, barge and feeder services, and optimally positioning empty containers to produce the overall least cost transport plan instantly, saving planning time, cost and resources.
PARIS enables transport operators to plan complex vehicle movements involving multiple collection and delivery points, taking account of fleet availability, cost, distance, time and many other variable factors – and it can do this in real time, adjusting the plan constantly as resources and requirements change.
As part of the optimisation process, the system has to consider many thousands of possible vehicle movements in order to establish the “best fit” in cost terms for current requirements. To make these calculations, PARIS accesses a time/distance matrix calculation engine, which works out how long each possible journey would take.
As part of its continual improvement programme, Hutchison decided to look for a time-distance calculation system that could be integrated more tightly with the core product. In particular, it wanted a system that incorporated a full API (application programming interface), which meant it could interact with PARIS’s C++ programming environment at a low level, opening up new development opportunities for the future.
Few off-the-shelf routing products offered this kind of API, but GeoConcept matched its requirements closely. GeoConcept(http://www.mapmechanics.com/
In this case GeoConcept’s SmartRouting functionality has provided PARIS with the ability to handle very complex routing problems at high speed. It takes multiple pairs of origin and destination map coordinates such as start and finish points of container movements, and generates drivetime and distance values “on the fly”. Its fast programming algorithms allow it to perform this task extremely quickly, returning the results in milliseconds.
In addition to providing a flexible path to future developments of the PARIS product, GeoConcept has also introduced some additional capabilities to the system. In particular, using GeoConcept makes it possible to vary the speeds allocated to individual road segments, which means speed parameters can be amended to reflect the “real-world”
This is invaluable, for instance, where a stretch of road is subject to frequent traffic congestion, reducing typical speeds to a level that is not necessarily indicated by its classification.
Having an accurate, configurable distance calculation system is also important because container operators tend to charge customers on the basis of distance bands, so these need to be calculated as accurately as possible. In addition, GeoConcept allows speeds to be modified on a broader basis. As an example, the system can use this ability to set a low speed for the whole London area to simulate the cost penalty imposed by the Congestion Charge.
# # #
MapMechanics provide innovative map based solutions. Based in the United Kingdom they have been providing software, data and consultancy for logistics and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for over twenty years.