A Roadmap for the Implementation of Co-modality in Freight Transport Network Operations



A Roadmap for the Implementation of Co-modality in Freight Transport Network Operations

Authors

L Tavasszy, TU Delft/TNO, NL; R Janssen, L Hagdorn, TNO/VU Amsterdam, NL; L van der Lugt, Erasmus University Rotterdam, NL

Description

The paper presents an innovation agenda for industry, policy makers and scientists to allow the realization of co-modal networks for freight transport in terms of network operations management.

Abstract

The broad policy principle of co-modality in freight transport has so far been operationalised mostly in terms of the design and governance of transport networks, and much less so in the realm of daily (or hourly) transport operations over multimodal networks. At the same time, supply chain management has evolved into the era of operations management, due to the recognition that supply chain operations need to become more responsive and resilient, also fuelled by the quick development of innovations in e-logistics (e.g. eFreight, intelligent cargo, ERP, WMS, MTMS) into co-operative systems for real time supply chain operations. Over the long term, a co-modal network will support the integrated use of these technologies in one responsive, mode-abstract network, where the optimal mode is decided in real time, depending on the actual circumstances and in the interest of service quality. The Dutch Strategic Platform for Logistics, a group of CEO's in the logistics industry, named this type of network with seamless and flexible operations a "synchromodal network".

Such a system requires horizontal and vertical co-operation between agents in the logistics system, and synchronization of operations within and between network layers: shipper/receiver networks (b2b and b2c), carrier/operator networks and infrastructure networks. The implementation of this system also depends on legal, infrastructural and regulational framework conditions that need to be put in place.

The impacts of improved co-modal network operations, in addition to a co-modal network design, are considerable. Case studies show that a better alignment of logistics and transport operations may save over 20% in total logistics costs. The expected economic impacts lie in the areas of trade facilitation (lower import and export costs), lower cost for the exchange of goods within the internal market and increased productivity of the European industry, including the logistics services sector. In addition, responsive operations in co-modal networks are expected to substantially improve the resilience of freight networks as freight assignment will be more flexible depending on the situation at hand in the different modal networks. Ultimately, better operations will allow maintaining and increasing the performance of the freight system towards the end consumer, as it makes transport more responsive and customizable.

This paper presents a strategic architecture for co-modal operations which should foster harmonization and standardization of technologies. It shows the critical roles that new technologies, transport subsidy arrangements and legal conditions play to implement co-modal transport operations. It describes the particular innovations that shippers, service providers and infrastructure will need to introduce to arrive at a co-modal transport system, in terms of both system design and operations. The paper is based on a strategic study for the Dutch Ministry of Transport which was completed late 2010. We followed up in 2011 with a roadmapping project with the industry, science and policy makers to identify time paths and options for implementation. This roadmap will be completed by May 2011 and will be reported in the paper. Together we provide an innovation agenda for industry, policy makers and scientists to allow the realization of co-modal networks for freight transport in terms of network operations management.

Publisher

Association for European Transport