The LDK (Last Mile Logistics) project: FlexiModal's expertise in micro-containers

Limiting load breaks through innovation and containerization
August 23, 2023 by

As part of the France 2030 plan, ADEME is operating a call for logistics 4.0 projects aimed at "optimizing, securing and decarbonizing mass transport and multimodal interfaces". 

This project brought together several players for a visit to FlexiModal on Friday, July 21, 2023. Among them were Mme Maillart-Méhaignerie, Member of Parliament for Ille-et-Vilaine, Mr Blet, Deputy Secretary General of the Ille-et-Vilaine Prefecture, Mr Savignac, Mayor of Cesson-Sévigné and Mr Theurier, delegate for mobility and transport at Rennes Métropole. Accompanied by their teams and the press, their visit underscores the importance of the last mile for the French government and local authorities. The French Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe) and the French government are investing €4.8 million, 60% of which is being provided by Ademe, in this project for which FlexiModal has been commissioned. 

The LDK project

A consortium of players, led by Twinswheel, a manufacturer of logistics droids, has formalized the LDK project, for Logistique des Derniers Kilomètres (Last Mile Logistics).

Controlling environmental impact (editor's note: 30% of GHG emissions are due to transport) and congestion in urban centers requires a change in urban delivery methods. Although more virtuous and adapted to constrained urban environments, the use of different vehicles for each context of use implies transfers of goods between vehicles (load breaks) which severely penalize the economic viability of multimodal logistics chains.

Approved by the Prime Minister on October 27, 2022, this project aims to robotize the breaking of containerized goods to facilitate the use of tramways (in Montpellier) and waterways (in Lyon) to transport the last mile of goods, in combination with delivery droids or cargo bikes.

FlexiModal's Expertise

FlexiModal was approached for this project because of its expertise in multimodality and associated logistics containers. The LDK project will enable FlexiModal to bring to fruition the concept of micro-containers in European pallet format (120x80cm), designed to secure, anonymize and facilitate the transfer of goods from one vehicle to another.. 

This R&D work is based on studies carried out with La Poste Group and other urban logistics players, aimed at standardizing these micro-containers (also known as ULIS for Unité Logistique Intermodale Standard). The aim is to apply the principle of maritime containerization to urban logistics..

FlexiModal will also be developing a new version of its BicyLift trailer for attachment to droid-type vehicles, to optimize their carrying capacity.

The partners of the project

The LDK project was initiated and is coordinated by Twinswheel, a manufacturer of logistics droids based in Cahors in the Occitanie region of France. 

The Metropole of Montpellier will lead the transformation of tramways for the transport of goods, then their exploitation via their operator TAM.

The Montpellier delivery company Services Ecusson Vert (SEV) will handle deliveries during the experimental phases.

The Oc'Consigne cooperative for the re-use of glass containers will take advantage of the project to test various ways of optimizing container collection.

Société Fluviale de Logistique (SFL) aims to optimize the loading/unloading phases of a barge by integrating a pallet-handling robot. The barge will be operated in Lyon..

The OPAL Research laboratory will study the governance and economic models adapted to this multimodal logistics. It will also evaluate the experiments and their impact.

Key figures

Begun on April 27, 2023, the LDK project is scheduled for completion within 3 years.

The project represents a total investment of €4,777,418.

FlexiModal has been awarded €264,241 as part of the Logistics 4.0 call for projects.

Visite de la préfecture - July, 21st 2023