Working Groups – Summary

See below the latest developments of ECG’s various Working Groups.

August 2020

Capacity

The Capacity Working Group (CWG) was formed to address loss of efficiency due to forecasting quality in the industry. Project Caesar was created to address this and concluded in 2019 with the publication of ECG Standard for vehicle logistics forecasting as a recommended methodology for a forecasting cycle which assists with more accurate forecasting and provides guidelines on how to improve the accuracy of the process in the long term. ECG now promotes this standard and encourages its members to promote it towards their customers.

For more information or to join the group please contact Andreea Serbu 

Digitalisation

The Digitalisation Working Group (DWG) is the umbrella for a number of different sub-groups. As you would expect many topics fall under this working group.

A successful cross-sector collaboration has resulted in the creation of a recommended standard for digital messages which cover all outbound logistics processes. Two years of collaboration between ECG, Odette International and the VDA has led to the development of a set of recommended standard EDIFACT and XML messages covering digital communication across all outbound logistics processes. The standard messages will allow OEMs and LSPs to communicate with each other in a more efficient way. They will also avoid a proliferation of many different message types across the finished vehicle supply chain, significantly reducing IT development costs for individual companies. The joint ECG, Odette, VDA recommendation is available and free to use for all interested parties.

The DWG’s Close-range vehicle identification sub-group has finished its work by publishing its recommendation for a standardized VIN label in the supply chain. As there is no standard design or even location for the label on the vehicle, and the vehicle is traced by continuous scanning throughout the supply chain, the standard provides an opportunity for considerable efficiency improvements and time saving. Besides the ‘simple label’ with the barcode and the VIN number, a ‘smart label’ is also proposed, using passive RFID technology.

ECG has also published a standard for connectivity audits on vehicle logistics sites. This proposed standard is the result of a collaboration between Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, Groupe PSA and Nantes-Saint-Nazaire Port where the proposed standard was trialled and tested. This new initiative anticipates the future connectivity needs of  FVL compounds. Currently no other recommendation for a standard like this exists and as such this is a unique opportunity to ensure standardisation and avoid the co-existence of diverging practices. Compound audits with specialized companies can be requested to ensure that premises meet the necessary connectivity requirements in terms of 2G/3G/4G coverage. The audit specifications and requirements are detailed in the recommendation and anyone needing to measure site connectivity is encouraged to adopt this methodology.

The e-gate sub-group has also published its short briefing document in April recommending the utilisation of time slot booking applications on compounds and thus ensuring better communication between the truck and compound operators to give a better use of the driver’s time, shortening the queues in front of the gates, etc. The group will soon be re-convened and will discuss what an e-gate message would look like and how it could potentially be included among the ECG-Odette-VDA standardized messages.

For more information or to join the WG please contact Szilvi Kiss.

Health & Safety

The Health & Safety Working Group (H&S WG) has various sub-groups working on different activities with the goal of reducing accidents, especially falls from height, in truck transportation in finished vehicle logistics.

One sub-group works on incident sharing and learning. Many incidents occur during loading and unloading operations and the sub-group developed a confidential reporting website where truck operators can upload their accidents. This website generates a database which will be used to issue useful reports for the whole industry so everyone can learn from others. ECG is currently promoting the website and encouraging all truck operators to use it. The sub-group will shortly issue a report on accidents of 2019 and 2020. The sub-group will meet again in September (date TBC) to develop a process for quickly sharing causes of severe accidents to enhance learning from each other.

The second sub-group is working on ‘man/method’ and developed the ECG Guidelines for Safe Loading Methods which explain step-by-step how to safely load and unload car transporters. These guidelines will be translated in several languages and made available for all of our members by the end of 2020. In the autumn the sub-group also plans to resume the training sessions on the Guidelines which were interrupted due to COVID-19.

The third sub-group is looking at making the operating environment safer and produced the first draft of the ECG Guidelines for Safe Yard Design which outline best practice in yard design. In autumn 2020 the sub-group will do a gap analysis of these Guidelines and visit several compounds to check if they are realistic and implementable. The sub-group will meet in September (date TBC) to plan these compound visits.

This sub-group will also continue its work by now focusing on the environment for delivery at retailers. It is currently gathering examples of good practice and improvement areas from the participants of the group with the aim of issuing some guidelines on what a ‘safe’ retailer should look like.

The fourth sub-group developed a risk assessment tool for trailers to find out how safe they are. The tool has been tested in 2019 during some training sessions and it will be further tested in 2020 once the COVID-19 situation allows. The group will meet in September (date TBC) to assess the status.

For more information or to join the group please contact Andreea Serbu 

Maritime & Ports

The latest Maritime & Ports Working Group virtual meeting on 30 June was well attended and proved as constructive as the usual physical meetings. During the webinar the change in the working group’s leadership was announced and the new chairman, Jordi Casals from Berge Maritima, thanked Bjorn Svenningsen for his services as outgoing chairman and assured everyone that he will continue this work.

The main issues discussed were the COVID-19 challenges, emissions reporting and handling AFVs in the Maritime sector. The working group had a webinar on 11 May 2020 focused on the COVID-19 challenges and the key issues were discussed in the following meetings that ECG organised with ECSA, CLEA, EuDA, Inter Ferry and ESPO. A new issue was identified during the last meeting: the lack of information regarding COVID-19 guidelines of the European ports. To tackle the information deficiency ECG turned to FONASBA who offered to share their weekly COVID-19 updates on ports guidelines with ECG which are now being distributed to M&P WG members.

On the subject of emissions reporting issue ECG explained the desire for a standard methodology in the industry. A constructive meeting took place on 29 June 2020 between ECG and Clean Cargo on this topic. Meetings are also being held with individual OEMs to understand different views. Finally, the latest developments regarding the newly formed sub-group on ‘Handling AFVs in the Maritime Sector’ were reported. The meeting with EMSA and the European Commission’s representative was fruitful and ECG was provisionally invited to a meeting with IMO on 24 September to present the main issues. Upon confirmation the participants of the sub-group will be invited to a webinar to provide feedback on the content of this presentation.

For more information or to join the WG please contact Panagiota Sdoukou.

Quality

On 9 July the Quality Working Group (QWG) held a webinar with around 45 representatives from LSPs, OEMs, trailer manufacturers and claims handling companies. The agenda was very much centred around two topics: the utilization of Full Body Covers (FBCs) in the supply chain and the specific needs of Electric Vehicles (BEVs, PHEVs etc.) relating to loading on car transporters and the potential for damage.

According to a number of operators some FBCs might pose Health & Safety and Quality concerns due to their design or poor application. On one hand, ECG has already contacted the OEMs which are using such covers to express our concerns. On the other hand, ECG together with some members of the QWG created good practice suggestions for the utilization and design of FBCs. This document will soon be published on the ECG website and will be freely accessible for the benefit of all.

Electric Vehicles (EVs) have been high on the group’s agenda lately. ECG has started assembling the various OEM charging requirements which will be presented at the next webinar. Besides this, the issue of underbody scratches on the battery pack of EVs has been signalled as a new type of damage, as a result of which some OEMs are specifying positions on car transporters where EVs can or cannot be loaded. This, and the liabilities for such damages, were further discussed this time with claims handling companies and trailer manufacturers being part of the debate. ECG will keep this issue on the agenda of future meetings.

Due to the lack of time some topics had to be postponed to the next webinar. These included the sequence of loading and unloading on rail decks and the handling of matt coated vehicles in the supply chain.

The next webinar will be held on 9 September.

For more information or to join the WG please contact Szilvi Kiss.

Sustainability

The main focus of the Sustainability Working Group (SWG) which has been active since November 2019 is emissions calculation & reporting as this is gaining ever more importance at EU level. The SWG is looking at all modes of transportation and its aim is to align LSPs and OEMs in order to agree on a common way of calculating and reporting emissions in the sector. The WG started its work by carrying out interviews with OEMs to understand what they are asking from their customers on emissions. These interviews started  in April and are ongoing. It is also looking at what methodologies are currently used and being developed to calculate emissions in logistics and organise meetings with relevant stakeholders. The SWG plans to have a meeting in September 2020 (date TBC).

For more information or to join the group please contact Andreea Serbu 

Regional Meetings

Eastern Region

Usually meeting twice a year due to COVID-19 the last meeting planned in April 2020 was cancelled. The next Eastern Regional Meeting will be held online on 17 September from 14:30 – 16:30.  During this meeting the participants will, as usual, get an update of the market, on ECG activities and discuss a variety of current and interesting topics. The draft agenda and the invitation for the meeting has already been send out.

For more information or to join the group please contact Andreea Serbu 

UK & Ireland

Members in the UK & Ireland usually meet 3 times a year but the first meeting of the year scheduled in Dublin had to be cancelled. The group met online on 24 June and reviewed the latest market situation as well as being updated on ECG’s latest activities. The group very much hopes to be able to go ahead with the physical meeting planned to be held in London on 12 November.

For more information or to join the group please contact the ECG secretariat