Survey on Characteristics and Challenges of Synchromodal Transportation in Global Cold Chains

  • Wenjing GuoEmail author
  • Wouter Beelaerts van Blokland
  • Gabriel Lodewijks
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10572)


Transportation of perishables such as fruits and vegetables with short shelf life in international, long distance and cooled condition, plays a key role in global cold chains. Compared with truck transportation, intermodal transportation largely reduces logistics cost and emissions, however, has less flexibility for disturbances. Another aspect is that truck transportation occupies the largest share in inland transportation, which causes traffic congestion and environmental pollutions. Synchromodal transportation is a known method to study the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of transportation by using real-time information. However, limited articles can be found about the cold chain perspective, an integral analysis is missing. Our objective is to thoroughly analyze the characteristics and challenges of synchromodal transportation in global cold chains. The critical successful factors are analyzed at first. After that, we survey on planning problems in strategic, tactical and operational level, respectively. Finally, we conclude by suggesting further research directions.


Global cold chains Flexibility Environmental impact Synchromodal transportation Real-time switching 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Agatz, N.A.H., Erera, A.L., Wang, X.: Dynamic ride-sharing: A simulation study in metro Atlanta. Transportation Research Part B: Methodological 45(9), 1450–1464 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ahumada, O., Villalobos, J.R.: A tactical model for planning the production and distribution of fresh produce. Annals of Operations Research 190(1), 339–358 (2011)MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Akhtar, P., Tse, Y.K., Khan, Z., Rao-Nicholson, R.: Data-driven and adaptive leadership contributing to sustainability: global agri-food supply chains connected with emerging markets. International Journal of Production Economics 181, 392–401 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Akkerman, R., Farahani, P., Grunow, M.: Quality, safety and sustainability in food distribution: a review of quantitative operations management approaches and challenges. Or Spectrum 32(4), 863–904 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Barnhart, C., Ratliff, H.D.: Modeling intermodal routing. Journal of Business Logistics 14(1), 205 (1993)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Behdani, B., Fan, Y., Wiegmans, B., Zuidwijk, R.: Multimodal schedule design for synchromodal freight transport systems (2014)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bookbinder, J.H., Fox, N.S.: Intermodal routing of Canada-Mexico shipments under NAFTA. Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review 34(4), 289–303 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bortolini, M., Faccio, M., Ferrari, E., Gamberi, M., Pilati, F.: Fresh food sustainable distribution: cost, delivery time and carbon footprint three-objective optimization. Journal of Food Engineering 174, 56–67 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Brundtland, G.H., Khalid, M.: Our common future, New York (1987)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Chang, T.-S.: Best routes selection in international intermodal networks. Computers & Operations Research 35(9), 2877–2891 (2008)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cho, J.H., Kim, H.S., Choi, H.R.: An intermodal transport network planning algorithm using dynamic programming—a case study: from Busan to Rotterdam in intermodal freight routing. Applied Intelligence 36(3), 529–541 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Di Febbraro, A., Sacco, N., Saeednia, M.: An agent-based framework for cooperative planning of intermodal freight transport chains. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies 64, 72–85 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Doukidis, G.I., Matopoulos, A., Vlachopoulou, M., Manthou, V., Manos, B.: A conceptual framework for supply chain collaboration: empirical evidence from the agri-food industry. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal 12(3), 177–186 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    European Commission. Illustrated glossary for transport statistics, Belgium (2009)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
  16. 16.
    Li, L., Negenborn, R.R., De Schutter, B.: Distributed model predictive control for cooperative synchromodal freight transport. Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review (2016)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lin, X., Negenborn, R.R., Lodewijks, G.: Towards Quality-aware Control of Perishable Goods in Synchromodal Transport Networks. IFAC 49(16), 132–137 (2016)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Masoud, N., Jayakrishnan, R.: A decomposition algorithm to solve the multi-hop Peer-to-Peer ride-matching problem. Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, 99 (2017)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Mes, M.R., Iacob, M.-E.: Synchromodal transport planning at a logistics service provider Logistics and Supply Chain Innovation, pp. 23–36. Springer (2016)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Min, H.: International intermodal choices via chance-constrained goal programming. Transportation Research Part A: General 25(6), 351–362 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Pfoser, S., Schauer, O.: Critical Success Factors of Synchromodality: Results from a Case Study and Literature Review. Transportation Research Procedia 14, 1463–1471 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Pieters, R., van Beek, P., Glöckner, H.-H., Omta, O., Weijers, S.: Innovative approaches to improve sustainability of physical distribution in dutch agrifood supply chains efficiency in sustainable supply chain, pp. 31–52. Springer (2017)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Putz, L.-M., Haider, C., Haller, A., Schauer, O.: Identifying key enablers for synchromodal transport chains in central europe. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the WCTRS SIGA2 2015 Conference, Antwerpen, Belgien (2015)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Reis, V.: Should we keep on renaming a+ 35-year-old baby? Journal of Transport Geography 46, 173–179 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Riessen, B.V., Negenborn, R.R., Dekker, R., Lodewijks, G.: Service network design for an intermodal container network with flexible transit times and the possibility of using subcontracted transport. International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics 7(4), 457–478 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Rivera, A.P., Mes, M.: Service and transfer selection for freights in a synchromodal network. In: Paias, A., Ruthmair, M., Voß, S. (eds.) ICCL 2016. LNCS, vol. 9855, pp. 227–242. Springer, Cham (2016). doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-44896-1_15 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Singh, P., van Sinderen, M., Wieringa, R.: Synchromodal transport: pre-requisites, activities and effects. Paper presented at the ILS Conference (2016)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Southworth, F., Peterson, B.E.: Intermodal and international freight network modeling. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies 8(1), 147–166 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    SteadieSeifi, M., Dellaert, N.P., Raoufi, R.: Multimodal freight transportation planning: A literature review. European Journal of Operational Research 233(1), 1–15 (2014)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Tavasszy, L.A., Behdani, B., Konings, R.: Intermodality and synchromodality (2015)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Van Der Burg, M.: Synchromodal transport for the horticulture industry: Erasmus University (2012)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Van Der Vorst, J.G., Ossevoort, R., De Keizer, M., Van Woensel, T., Verdouw, C.N., Van Willegen, R.: DAVINC3I: towards collaborative responsive logistics networks in floriculture. In: Logistics and Supply Chain Innovation, pp. 37–53. Springer (2016)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Van Der Vorst, J.G., Peeters, L., Bloemhof, J.M.: Sustainability assessment framework for food supply chain logistics: empirical findings from dutch food industry. Proceedings in Food System Dynamics, 480–491 (2013)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Van Der Vorst, J.G., Tromp, S.-O., Zee, D.-J.V.D.: Simulation modelling for food supply chain redesign; integrated decision making on product quality, sustainability and logistics. International Journal of Production Research 47(23), 6611–6631 (2009)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Van Riessen, B., Negenborn, R.R., Dekker, R.: Synchromodal container transportation: an overview of current topics and research opportunities. Paper presented at the International Conference on Computational Logistics (2015)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Van Riessen, B., Negenborn, R.R., Dekker, R.: Real-time container transport planning with decision trees based on offline obtained optimal solutions. Decision Support Systems 89, 1–16 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Van Riessen, B., Negenborn, R.R., Lodewijks, G., Dekker, R.: Impact and relevance of transit disturbances on planning in intermodal container networks using disturbance cost analysis. Maritime Economics & Logistics 17(4), 440–463 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Yu, M., Nagurney, A.: Competitive food supply chain networks with application to fresh produce. European Journal of Operational Research 224(2), 273–282 (2013)MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Zhang, G., Habenicht, W., Spieß, W.E.L.: Improving the structure of deep frozen and chilled food chain with tabu search procedure. Journal of Food Engineering 60(1), 67–79 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Zhang, M., Pel, A.: Synchromodal hinterland freight transport: model study for the port of Rotterdam. Journal of Transport Geography 52, 1–10 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Ziliaskopoulos, A., Wardell, W.: An intermodal optimum path algorithm for multimodal networks with dynamic arc travel times and switching delays. European Journal of Operational Research 125(3), 486–502 (2000)MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wenjing Guo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wouter Beelaerts van Blokland
    • 1
  • Gabriel Lodewijks
    • 2
  1. 1.Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations