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, but that costs and use of land & road infrastructure, and emissions must be minimized. Smart and competitive intermodal transport and logistic solutions are key here.

Inside the container
To support this, cargo handling will have to distance itself from the past. The focus on moving containers from one point to another has to be complemented with a focus on the cargo inside the containers. This leads to cargo-driven intermodal transportation. Accepted concepts, cross-docking in particular, could be introduced for specific goods categories. Cross-docking allows for the integration of maritime and continental cargo flows, and it will enhance the utilization (in particular re-use) of containers. These concepts have strong ties with existing initiatives like Cool Port, and results from this project will fuel the future development of these initiatives.

Support Tools
The project will lead to tangible results, in particular a set of decision-making support tools that support the analysis of (1) information flows within cross-dock and synchromodal logistic environments with a special focus on the cargo level; (2) investments in warehousing; (3) smart solutions for the logistics chain, including the use of existing networks.

Research activities
The project will meet these project goals through parallel and interacting lines of research, organized in a single work package: • Managing cross-dock operations at cargo level;
• Managing container flows at cargo level;
• Creating value with information flows at cargo level.

Transport Hubs in Control
Focusing on cargo level opens up a new market for containerized transport. It allows for better use of container capacity, alignment of operational needs in intermodal and safe & secure cargo transport. Consolidation and deconsolidation (cross-docking, transloading and warehousing on break-bulk platforms or in distribution parks) of cargo near sea ports and inland terminals creates potential for the development of service clusters, adding considerable value to global and continental supply chains.