Integration of inter-terminal transport and hinterland rail transport

Qu Hu*, Bart Wiegmans, Francesco Corman, Gabriel Lodewijks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


This paper investigates the problem of inter-terminal movements of containers and vehicles within a port area in order to achieve an integrated and effective transport within the port and towards the hinterland. Containers from different port terminals are first moved to a rail yard and then delivered to the hinterland by rail. To provide insights for stakeholders such as port authority and terminal operators into tactical planning problems, e.g., the coordination between terminals, railway timetable and train sizes, this paper proposes an optimization model describing the movement of containers and various vehicles between and inside terminals. The model aims at improving the container delivery from container terminals to the hinterland considering both railway hinterland transport and terminal handling operations. A network inspired by a real-life port area and its hinterland is used as a test case to test different components, i.e., inter-terminal transport connections, train formation, railway timetable. A rolling horizon framework is used to improve the computation efficiency in large transport demand cases. The result of the optimization helps in identifying the most promising features, namely, that more connections between terminals and a flexible outbound railway timetable could contribute to improving the integrated container transport performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-831
JournalFlexible Services and Manufacturing Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Container terminal
  • Inter-terminal transport
  • Intermodal transport
  • Railway transport


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