Cargo Driven Intermodal Transportation
The Port of Rotterdam and its business partners realize that new concepts and facilities are needed that add value to cargo with minimum costs and a minimum use of land and road infrastructure, and with minimum emissions. Smart and competitive intermodal transport- and logistic solutions are key here.
Inside the container
To support this, cargo handling has to be done differently than in the past. The focus on moving containers from one point to another has to be complemented by a focus on the cargo inside the containers. This gives rise to cargo driven intermodal transportation. Known concepts, in particular cross-docking, could be introduced for specific goods categories. Cross-docking allows, amongst other things, for the integration of maritime
and continental cargo flows, and it will enhance the utilization (in particular re-use) of containers. These concepts are strongly related to existing initiatives such as Cool Port, and results from this project will feed the further development of these initiatives.
Indeed, the concepts need further study and expansion. The project will lead to tangible results, in particular a set of decision support tools which (1) support the analysis of information flows within cross-dock and synchromodal logistic environments with a special focus on the cargo level; (2) support the analysis of investments in warehousing; (3) support the analysis of smart solutions for the logistic chain, including the use of the existing networks.
The project will meet these project goals by means of three parallel and interacting research activities, organized in a single work package:
- 1. Managing cross-dock operations at the cargo level;
- 2. Managing container flows at the cargo level;
- 3. Creating value with information flows at the cargo level.
The research activities will result in analyses and tools that will support the further development of cargo driven intermodal transportation in practice.
Transport Hubs in Control
By focussing on the cargo level, a new market for containerized transport is opened. It will also help to prevent suboptimal use of synchromodal solutions, e.g., where the distribution to final destinations is considered separately. It allows for a better use of container capacity. It also helps to align the operational needs in intermodal transport and the needs for safe and secure transport of cargo.
The consolidation and deconsolidation (cross-docking, transloading and warehousing on break-bulk platforms or in distribution parks) of cargo near sea ports and inland terminals create the potential for development of service clusters that add considerable value in global and continental supply chains. The breakbulk platform "Cool Port" is an inspiring project, and other opportunities are to be investigated in this project. The development of intermodal transport solutions at the cargo level also helps create value adding activities near the main ports and inland terminals. As such, it also stimulates the development of logistics centers such as Green Hub Venlo. The exchange of cargo level information could be facilitated by a neutral platform such as NLIP.
A Cross Chain Control Center (4-C)
- 1) The project contributes to 4-C by focusing on ways to manage information flows between the port, the players in the intermodal network in the hinterland, and the shippers. For instance, cross-docking and the consolidation of cargo flows into FCL could be arranged across several supply chains. Furthermore the project also contributes to The Neutraal Logistiek Informatie Platform (NLIP): in the project, the research into markets and the importance of information leads to new insights in what is crucial logistic information, and how this information can be shared among (competitive) supply chains partners;
- 2) The project contributes to synchromodality as it explores the options to use several transport modes in varying intermodal configurations;
CDIT contributes to other goals as well, in particular development of human capital (design of concepts and cross-fertilization) and sustainable development (by substituting road transport to rail and barge, by more efficient unimodal transport, by more efficient use of space). The project is also an example of a demand-driven project, which follows from the high interest from business in the project.
This research project elaborates on the concept of cargo-driven intermodal transport, where design, planning, and execution of intermodal transportation are considered at the cargo level. It explores the pros and cons of cargo driven intermodal transportation for the key stakeholders, and to a lesser extent, also the wider economic impact. It determines the main success and failure factors of the concept. Then it defines aset of business cases for the concept. These help to convince our commercial business partners and the wider business community of the feasibility of the concept. The project will lead to tangible results, in particular a set of decision support tools which
- - support the analysis of information flows within cross-dock and synchromodal logistic environments with a special focus on the cargo level;
- - support the analysis of investments in warehousing;
- - support the analysis of smart solutions for the logistic chain, including the use of the existing networks.
These decision support tools will be developed in parallel to tools already used by business and researchers.
For more information please contact Paul Huijbregts, Huijbregts@dinalog.nl