Transport companies often discover that what takes place in day-to-day transportation is not in line with their transport plans. This is largely due to the fact that the software which is employed in creating transport plans, fails to account for the real-world complexity of transportation and logistics. Approximations and abstractions used fall short of the true complexities in the real world. Direct consequences include violation of time windows, unnecessary delays, underutilized transportation capacity, etc.

This project aims to develop algorithms and software that can handle time-dependent, stochastic, planning problems, employing high-volumes of information. We will focus particularly on the complexities that arise in integrating planning problems and stochastic dependencies in Cross Chain Control Centers (4C), because in a 4C: i) the required real-life detail increases, ii) incidents are considerably larger, and iii) more communication is required as the pressure on response time increases.

The project has four main work packages. The first involves the development of 4C scenarios together with the project’s industry partners and the evaluation of the effectiveness of the developed software in the context of these scenarios. The second integrates the two main software components, developed in three and four: efficient algorithms for time-dependent, stochastic, planning problems; and information aggregation techniques that can efficiently calculate time-dependent distributions from large volumes of data.
It is expected that the development of general 4C software to improve transportation plans will generate additional business for the Dutch transport industry. Our software facilitates the creation and expansion of 4C organizations; dedicated planning software is an important enabler for such organizations. Additional business may also be generated for information providers and transport software developers.

What makes the project so innovative is the apparent absence of modern transport planning software that accounts for time dependency and stochasticity. As there is no general 4C software available, the software developed in this project will be the first software to truly enable off-the-shelf 4C transportation planning and control.

The logistics project partners will immediately implement the results from the project. The same results will be used for business cases to motivate other companies. The generic software and its applicability will be marketed by our software and consultancy project partners.