In a remarkable showcase of innovation and ingenuity, the MultiRELOAD Open Innovation Challenge – organised by the Port of Vienna and hosted by thinkport VIENNA - has proudly announced the winners of its competition. Tasked with reimagining the transportation of agricultural products on Europe's inland waterways, participants from across the continent presented solutions that promise to enhance efficiency, sustainability, and the overall logistics framework. The aim was to demonstrate ideas and solutions on how goods can be handled as part loads (bulk and general cargo - also palletized) in suitable loading units and transported multimodally (road-inland waterway) from A to B.

The 16 ideas submitted were first subjected to a community vote and then a subsequent jury vote on the basis of defined evaluation criteria, resulting in the following decision:

First place: "Labor-saving and easy to carry tools for transshipping agrarian and general goods"

Emerging at the forefront, Man Jiang's "Labor-saving and easy to carry tools for transhipping agrarian and general goods" won the first prize. This project presents a holistic approach to transhipping, emphasising the importance of labour-saving techniques, cost-effectiveness, and ease of use. By developing ISO-compliant loading units tailored for both bulk and general goods, Jiang's solution demonstrates an important step towards optimising the round-trip transportation process between Austria and Romania. Jiang shares, “The clarity of the challenge made me imagine myself as a producer, a shipper, a receiver in a multi-modal logistics centre. Then I grabbed some pallets, bags, and ropes to create the solutions for myself. Inspired by ‘the minimalist entrepreneur’ and ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’, I’ve started ‘REship System Services’ company transforming the solutions to services for multi-modal transport in Europe.”

Second place: "Smart (IoT supported) Composite Insulated Dry Container for Multimodal Transportation“

AELER's submission, the "Smart (IoT supported) Composite Insulated Dry Container for Multimodal Transportation", secured second place with its approach to reducing the environmental impact of transporting agricultural products. Using smart composite materials, these containers are designed to significantly increase payload capacity while ensuring the safety and integrity of the cargo through enhanced protection against environmental factors. The integration of IoT capabilities facilitates real-time tracking and monitoring, providing unprecedented visibility and control over the transport process. Marianna Levtov and Gadi Benmoshe of AELER Technologies SA remark, “AELER's containers enhance efficiency by increasing payload to 28 tons, encouraging a shift to inland waterways and rail, aligning with Europe's emission targets. Their naturally insulating materials protect cargo, ensuring safety for longer transport distances. Equipped with IoT for real-time tracking, these containers boost operational efficiency, facilitating seamless transitions between modes and supporting more sustainable and reliable transport infrastructure.”

Third place (ex aequo): "Tank Trans" and "Loading and Discharging Bulk Cargo in Container" 

Tied for the third place, "Tank Trans" and "Loading and Discharging Bulk Cargo in Container" presented equally compelling solutions that also underscore the importance of flexibility and efficiency in handling bulk cargo and offer alternative and practical solutions for associated challenges in the transport sector.

MultiRELOAD Open Innovation Challenge celebrates collaborative innovation in addressing the pressing challenges of today's transport sector. Through the dedication and creativity of its participants, the challenge has highlighted pathways towards a more efficient, sustainable, and interconnected future for the transport of agricultural products on Europe's inland waterways.)

This challenge acknowledges the hard work and innovative thinking of its participants, reinforcing the importance of regularly seeking out and testing innovative concepts in the transportation industry. By encouraging collaboration and highlighting practical innovations, the MultiRELOAD Open Innovation Challenge provides a valuable platform for tackling practical on-field issues in a practical and constructive way and underscores the potential of open innovation and the power of teamwork in creating meaningful improvements within the transport of agricultural products on Europe's inland waterways.

Martin Posset and Sonja Russo from thinkport VIENNA highlighted: "The impossible is often what we haven't tried yet - more courage and openness to new solutions are needed.“