Optimal Transportation Plans and Portfolios for Synchromodal Container Networks, PhD Defense Bart van Riessen

Date: March 22, 2018, 13.30 Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
Location: Senate Hall, Erasmus Building, Woudestein Campus 

In his dissertation Bart van Riessen studies the operational implementation of synchromodality, a concept for container transportation that combines service differentiation with integrated network planning.

Over 5 decades, container transportation has increased enormously. Many individual stakeholders (cities, transport companies) aim to create intermodal corridors in order to attract logistics business from the deep-sea port to their region. However, each separate development of an intermodal train or vessel corridor has limited potential and can only compete with flexible and reliable container trucks on longer distances.

Instead, intermodal trains and inland vessels should compete by creating truly integrated network operation with multiple corridors. In his dissertation, Bart van Riessen shows that significant cost savings can be attained by integrated planning and operation of intermodal networks. To do so is not straightforward in practice as integrated operation is blocked by opportunistic behaviour by customers: every customer wants the best slot for his container, impeding the efficient operation of network operator.

In answer to this problem, the dissertation studies a synchromodal operation of container networks. With synchromodality, the transportation business model is changed to make sure that both customers and operators benefit. A customer can order a fast ‘Express’ transportation for a small premium. Alternatively, for a lower price the customer can get a ‘Standard’ transportation that takes a little longer. This not only serves customers better, the research shows for the case of European Gateway Services that the transportation operator can realise a more efficient operation and improve reliability at the same time. Synchromodality has been studied for approximately 7 years and now, around the time of publication of this thesis, the company starts with a pilot to implement the new business model.

About the Author

Bart van Riessen obtained a Master degree in Mechanical Engineering from TU Delft and a Master degree in Econometrics from Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), both in 2013. Afterwards, he started in a part-time position at ECT on hinterland developments and in a separate position at the Econometric Institute (Erasmus University Rotterdam) for his Ph.D. research under the supervision of Prof.dr.ir. Rommert Dekker (Econometric Institute) and Prof. dr. Rudy R. Negenborn (Dept. of Maritime and Transport Technology, TU Delft). His aim is to bridge the gap between academic transportation research and the transportation and logistics industry.