Special Issue "Sustainability in Synchromodal Logistics and Transportation"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 April 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Daniele Manerba
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Information Engineering (DII), University of Brescia, via Branze 38, 25123 Brescia, Italy
Interests: synchromodal logistics; network optimization; vehicle routing problems; optimization under uncertainty; facility location; procurement logistics and supplier selection
Prof. Dr. An Caris
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Hasselt University, Research Group Logistics, Agoralaan Gebouw D - B-3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
Interests: synchromodal transport; healthcare logistics; data driven logistics; warehouse optimization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Synchromodal logistics and transportation has recently emerged as a paradigm able to improve flexibility in long-haul supply chains, cooperation among stakeholders, and efficient utilization of resources. In fact, as supply-chain management is becoming strongly demand driven, logistics service providers (LSPs) are forced to use real-time information efficiently and integrate new technologies into their business.

Synchromodality is an evolution of other well-known transportation paradigms such as intermodality, multimodality, and co-modality, mainly developed and established in the Benelux region during the last decade. Synchromodality can be seen as the provision of efficient, reliable, flexible, and sustainable services through the coordination and cooperation of stakeholders and the synchronization of operations within one or more supply-chains driven by information and communication technologies (ICT) and intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies.

Since the environmental, social, and economic sustainability is a strong driver for the development and implementation of synchromodal solutions, all the business strategies, the planification, and the optimization of classical logistics operations should be all redefined and studied under this perspective.  Hence, this Special Issue mainly focuses on presenting new developments and scientific works from different fields (e.g., operations research, operation management, transportation engineering, ICT) that can provide innovative contributions in the sustainable adoption of logistics solutions taking into account specific aspects regarding synchromodality (e.g., flow synchronization, dynamic and real-time optimization, LSP integration and cooperation, a-modal booking, etc.).

We kindly invite you to submit a manuscript for this Special Issue. Covered topics include (but are not limited to) business and operational models, ports, and inter-ports management, planning and design problems, real-time optimization, ICT solutions and decision support systems in synchromodal logistics and transportation environments.

Research papers, short communications, and reviews are all taken into consideration. Moreover, scientific articles reporting on the results of research projects or real case implementations concerning synchromodality are also welcome.

Dr. Daniele Manerba
Prof. Dr. An Caris
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • synchromodal logistics and transportation
  • intermodal and multimodal logistics
  • ports and inter-ports management
  • planning and design problems
  • real-time optimization
  • ICT solutions and decision support systems
  • slow steaming and smart steaming

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Externalities on the Design and Management of Multimodal Logistic Networks
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5080; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095080 - 30 Apr 2021
Viewed by 294
Abstract
It is now widely accepted that the locations of intermediate facilities, such as logistics platforms or inland ports, are key elements of multimodal freight distribution networks and heavily influence their effectiveness. This crucial role of localization decisions is even more significant if we [...] Read more.
It is now widely accepted that the locations of intermediate facilities, such as logistics platforms or inland ports, are key elements of multimodal freight distribution networks and heavily influence their effectiveness. This crucial role of localization decisions is even more significant if we consider their impact on the external costs of the entire logistic corridor, with reference to the cost components associated with environmental sustainability. This paper faces a facility location problem concerning a port system network serving inbound container flows arriving by sea and travelling via road and/or rail towards the hinterland. The aim is to evaluate the impact of externalities on the overall management of the distribution network, including location decisions, flow routing and transport mode choice. We present a Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP) model having the goal of minimizing both the location and shipping costs, while accounting for external cost components. In particular, as a novel environmental issue, we propose three different objective functions including congestion, air pollution, and, incidentally, noise and infrastructure deterioration. We allow the containerized flows to be split among several capacitated facilities and road and rail transport modalities. The reported computational experimentation refers to different intermodal freight logistic networks through real data derived from the logistic network departing from the maritime terminals associated with the port of the Ligurian region towards their main destinations in the north-west side of Italy. Finally, we evaluate the impact on both flows and total costs due to a closure or a capacity reduction on some links of the network. The evidence of the impact of sustainability external costs on the design and management of the multimodal logistic network under analysis is emphasized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Synchromodal Logistics and Transportation)
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Open AccessArticle
Smart Steaming: A New Flexible Paradigm for Synchromodal Logistics
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4635; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094635 - 21 Apr 2021
Viewed by 291
Abstract
Slow steaming, i.e., the possibility to ship vessels at a significantly slower speed than their nominal one, has been widely studied and implemented to improve the sustainability of long-haul supply chains. However, to create an efficient symbiosis with the paradigm of synchromodality, an [...] Read more.
Slow steaming, i.e., the possibility to ship vessels at a significantly slower speed than their nominal one, has been widely studied and implemented to improve the sustainability of long-haul supply chains. However, to create an efficient symbiosis with the paradigm of synchromodality, an evolution of slow steaming called smart steaming is introduced. Smart steaming is about defining a medium speed execution of shipping movements and the real-time adjustment (acceleration and deceleration) of traveling speeds to pursue the entire logistic system’s overall efficiency and sustainability. For instance, congestion in handling facilities (intermodal hubs, ports, and rail stations) is often caused by the common wish to arrive as soon as possible. Therefore, smart steaming would help avoid bottlenecks, allowing better synchronization and decreasing waiting time at ports or handling facilities. This work aims to discuss the strict relationships between smart steaming and synchromodality and show the potential impact of moving from slow steaming to smart steaming in terms of sustainability and efficiency. Moreover, we will propose an analysis considering the pros, cons, opportunities, and risks of managing operations under this new policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Synchromodal Logistics and Transportation)
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Open AccessArticle
Implementing Horizontal Cooperation in Public Transport and Parcel Deliveries: The Cooperative Share-A-Ride Problem
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4362; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084362 - 14 Apr 2021
Viewed by 314
Abstract
The static share-a-ride problem (SARP) consists of handling people and parcels in an integrated way through the same vehicle, which provides a shared trip between an origin and a destination, in response to requests received in advance. When multiple providers compete on the [...] Read more.
The static share-a-ride problem (SARP) consists of handling people and parcels in an integrated way through the same vehicle, which provides a shared trip between an origin and a destination, in response to requests received in advance. When multiple providers compete on the same market (for instance, within the same city or region), horizontal cooperation can be an efficient strategy to consolidate all requests and to optimize the total payoff. This situation gives rise to the cooperative SARP (coop-SARP). In this problem, multiple depots and heterogeneous vehicles must be considered and different cooperation levels may be agreed upon by service providers. In this paper, we propose a new mathematical programming formulation for cooperative SARP along with theoretical bounds. Moreover, through numerical experiments and ad hoc statistics, we analyze the benefits of different levels of horizontal cooperation between service providers. The results show that cooperation leads to reduced travel times and to improved vehicle occupancy rates, service levels, and profits, which make such a cooperative system even more appealing for service providers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Synchromodal Logistics and Transportation)
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Power and Trust on the Initiation and Duration of Modal Shift Solutions
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3757; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073757 - 28 Mar 2021
Viewed by 519
Abstract
Modal shift to more energy-efficient alternatives, such as from road to rail or sea, is one path to reduce negative environmental effects. Transport providers and shippers have crucial roles in modal choice decisions, and a better understanding of the influence of interorganisational factors [...] Read more.
Modal shift to more energy-efficient alternatives, such as from road to rail or sea, is one path to reduce negative environmental effects. Transport providers and shippers have crucial roles in modal choice decisions, and a better understanding of the influence of interorganisational factors on modal shift is needed. The purpose is to increase the understanding of opportunities for modal shifts by exploring the influence of power and trust at the interface between transport providers and shippers. Aspects of power (coercive, reward, legitimate, expert and referent) and trust (contractual, competence and goodwill) influencing modal shifts were identified from interviews with shippers and transport providers in Sweden. During the initiation phase of modal shift, power appears more important, while trust is shown essential for the duration. By proactively suggesting modal shift, transport providers can use expert power to create rewards and referent power, through recognition of their expertise. Building trust, particularly goodwill trust, such as time invested in understanding the other party, transparency about challenges and jointly seeking solutions, is key to establish long-term modal shifts. This paper contributes to modal shift literature with insights on power balances and trust between transport providers and shippers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Synchromodal Logistics and Transportation)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Uncertainty in Intermodal and Synchromodal Transport: Review and Future Research Directions
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3980; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073980 - 02 Apr 2021
Viewed by 376
Abstract
Long-haul continental freight flows still heavily rely on unimodal road transport. Intermodal transport, combining road transport with other transport modes, has the potential to have lower operating costs and to be more environmentally sustainable. However, road transport benefits from its better flexibility and [...] Read more.
Long-haul continental freight flows still heavily rely on unimodal road transport. Intermodal transport, combining road transport with other transport modes, has the potential to have lower operating costs and to be more environmentally sustainable. However, road transport benefits from its better flexibility and adaptability to sudden disruptions and uncertainties. To facilitate a modal shift towards intermodal transport, it is crucial to improve its resilience (i.e., capability to resist and recover from sudden disruptions). Synchromodality is an extension of intermodality in which decisions on modal choice and routing are not predefined long in advance but are taken based on real-time information and may provide a step in that direction. The conducted literature review investigates how uncertainty can be handled in intermodal and synchromodal freight transport networks. The literature is classified based on the planning level, which is either strategic, tactical or operational. The main focus is on the studied types of uncertainty and the proposed solution approaches. This work contributes to the research field by reviewing the literature on intermodal and synchromodal transport with uncertainty, presenting measures to mitigate the effects of uncertainty and proposing future research directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Synchromodal Logistics and Transportation)
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