L. Li, R.R. Negenborn, and B. De Schutter, "A receding horizon approach for container flow assignment in intermodal freight transport," Proceedings of the 93rd Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, 14 pp., Jan. 2014. Paper 14-0088.
Hinterland haulage among major deep-sea ports and the cargos' inland origins/destinations has become an important component in modern logistic systems. Intermodal freight transport integrates the use of different modalities (e.g., trucks, trains, barges.) during the freight delivery process to improve the reliability and efficiency of hinterland haulage. In this paper, we first introduce intermodal freight transport and present existing intermodal container (freight) transport planning approaches. Next, a dynamic intermodal transport network (ITN) model developed by the authors in an earlier work is briefly recapitulated. To deal with the dynamic transport demand and the dynamic traffic conditions in the ITN, we propose a so-called receding horizon approach to address the intermodal container flow assignment problem between deep-sea terminals and inland terminals in hinterland cargo transport. The proposed approach considers the movement of containers as a flow and makes container flow assignment decisions in a receding horizon fashion during the container transport process. At each time step of the process, the future behavior of the ITN is predicted using a dynamic ITN model with load-dependent freeway transport times fed with information on the current and estimated transport demands and traffic conditions. To determine container assignments using this model, a nonlinear optimization problem is solved at each time step. Simulation studies for intermodal container flow assignments are conducted using both an all-or-nothing approach and the proposed receding horizon approach.