Besides transportation costs the punctual delivery of the goods is a key factor for mode choice in intermodal transportation networks. However, only a limited number of studies have included stochastic transportation time in Service Network Design, which refers to decisions regarding transportation mode and services, so far.
The paper on hand combines a Sample Average Approximation approach with Discrete Event Simulation for transportation network optimization with stochastic transportation times. This includes the corresponding vehicle routing problem for road vehicles. The share of orders transported by intermodal road-rail vs. unimodal road transportation in dependence of costs and delays of the trains is evaluated for a generic transportation relation in Central Europe. The data is backed by empirical data for transportation orders and delay distributions.
Intermodal transportation can be a competitive edge for logistics service providers who work on transportation network optimization. Combining different transportation modes can reduce costs and ensure the timely delivery of goods. Moreover, from the society’s point of view intermodal transportation increases volumes of the environment-friendly modes rail and barge. Therefore, it is a main pillar for reaching emission reduction targets in the transportation sector. In Europe, combined transportation is promoted as an alternative to long-haul road transportation. Combined transportation is a special form of intermodal transportation, in which the main haulage is by rail, inland waterway, or sea, and pre/post haulage carried out by road is as short as possible.