ZLC will contribute to improving rail freight transport in Europe


Zaragoza Logistics Center (ZLC) is one of the partners of the European Smart-Rail project, which is aimed at improving the rail transport services through a range of innovative measures. A total of 19 entities from eleven countries are involved in this project, backed by funding of almost EUR 6 millions from the European Commission. Due to its broad vision in the Supply Chain development and its prominent role in the European Technology Platform on Logistics (ALICE), ZLC is leading the work package related to cooperation in the supply chain.

Zaragoza, on 25th June 2015
Zaragoza Logistics Center, a research centre promoted by the Regional Government of Aragón (Spain) in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is one of the partners of the European Smart-Rail project (rail freight transport services aimed at the supply chain) which seeks to implement a range of innovative measures to improve rail freight services on the basis of five fundamental aspects- reliability, delivery time, costs, flexibility and visibility.

The project, supported with almost EUR 6 millions by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission, also seeks to promote a change of mind regarding the rail sector in order to turn it in a more customer- and supply-chain-oriented industry, by providing new business models in cooperation with other agents, as well as to develop a methodology enabling the exchange of information to optimize processes.

According to Susana Val, Associate Research Professor and Manager of the ZLC Transport Department, meeting these general objectives would result in a number of specific benefits including the increase up to 98% of on-time shipment, the diversification of the rail freight business with a focus on services, the development of a decision-making support tool in the field of logistics and the increased productivity in the sector changing from road to rail mode, with the subsequent environmental improvement.

Susana Val, Associate Research Professor and Manager of the ZLC Transport Department

Smart-Rail is divided into different work packages coordinated by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (Nederlandse Organisatie Voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek, TNO) with the involvement of other 18 partners from eleven countries among which ZLC will play a significant role.

“ZLC has a high dedication percentage in all the project activities. Thanks to its expertise in logistics, ZLC is the leader of the work package regarding cooperation inthe supply chain. It also takes part in the initial tasks for compiling information on problems and establishing indicators, as well as in creating innovative tools and in a living lab related to the control tower management and development”, Val stated. She added that the centre set in Zaragoza will also have an outstanding participation in the activities of synthesis and dissemination of results.

The project started on 1st May and is in development. Currently, the works focus on collecting information on existing problems in the rail freight industry and once they have been identified, they will be developed on a customer-oriented basis and taking into account the criteria of reliability, delivery time, costs, flexibility and visibility.

After collecting said information, concepts, methods and tools will be analysed in parallel in order to improve the rail freight services. A set of supply chain, business and governance models is expected to obtain in order to support the cooperation among agents of this industry. All these models will help to define a new roadmap, including an implementation plan.

In this regard, three living labs focused on various aspects and markets will be developed. They will allow to implement the developed tools, methodologies and concepts. The purpose of them is to test and improve the innovative measures in a real context.


ZLC has an extensive experience in projects related to transporting, logistics and supply chain management. In spite of being a twelve-year-old company, it has been involved in more than 100 collaborative R&D projects, has more than 250 partners from 38 countries in four continents and more than 70 indexed publications and books. In fact, this centre of Zaragoza is the Spanish institution with the highest number of European research projects on logistics and supply chain management. They were developed in collaboration with companies such as DHL, BSH or Acciona, among others.

A total of 19 entities from 11 countries are involved in the project

In last May 2015, ZLC completed a project within the MED program, known as FUTUREMED, on managing infomobility systems and improving the competitiveness of seaports. Previously, it had participated in an INTERREG program, within the MIELE project, in order to develop the logistic single window and the motorways of the sea.

Regarding the railway, ZLC has supported the Fundación Transpirenaica by means of various projects and has completed works on horizontal cooperation (CO3), logistic network design (RELOG) and the design of accessibility and efficiency of logistic nodes (INTER-NODAL). In addition, it has expertise in living labs thank to its participation in projects on safety in supply chains (CASSANDRA y CORE).

The aim of the project is to improve the rail transport services through a range of innovative measures

Susana Val concluded “participating in this type of initiatives has a significant international reputational impact and acknowledges our research capacity giving us a leading position in our industry. Moreover, said participation helps us to contact with other researchers and entities which can become key partners or collaborators in the long run”.

For further information, please contact:
* Sira Marqueta
Marketing and Communication Manager in Zaragoza Logistics Center (ZLC)
608 237 804 / [email protected]

Media Mentions:

Aragón Digital
Aragón Universidad
Cadena de Suministro
El Periódico de Aragón
El Vigia
Empresa Exterior
Ver documento Radio Intereconomía (Audio)