Synchromodal transport: From theory to practice: Case study port of Rotterdam: Identifying the success/fail factors

Ron van Duin, Pim Warffemius, Pieter Verschoor, Annemieke de Leeuw, Kristel Alons-Hoen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Container port competitiveness is generally conceptualized as being driven by straightforward criteria, such as port costs, handling efficiency, hinterland connectivity, and the quality of infrastructure and services. Synchromodal freight transport service is an emerging and developing concept of freight transport operations, as shippers and carriers consider hinterland, short-sea, and deep-sea connectivity as major port choice criteria to run these port operations smoothly. Although scientists claim that synchromodality is a promising concept with a lot of potential advantages synchromodal transport is currently implemented at limited scale.
In this study a survey is carried out among 30 different small/medium enterprises (SMEs) in the field of port logistics to identify the success/fail factors of using synchromodal transport in practice. Companies are classified as experienced or inexperienced users of synchromodal transport. The experienced users have a stronger attention to the operational factors of synchromodal transport. Their experiences with flexibility, availability of infrastructure, damage-control and specific data sharing seems to be determining factors in their usage of synchromodal transport. The non-experienced companies are hindered by ignorance of synchromodality and focus on issues such as lack of knowledge, how to start knowledge, lack of transparency and complexity of synchromodal transport. Our findings suggest that to increase the share of synchromodal transport it is necessary that companies and policy makers who want to encourage the use of synchromodal transport should make different action plans considering the level of experience of the enterprises.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 2019 TRB Annual Meeting
PublisherTransportation Research Board (TRB)
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventTransportation Research Board 98th Annual Meeting - Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C., United States
Duration: 13 Jan 201917 Jan 2019


ConferenceTransportation Research Board 98th Annual Meeting
Abbreviated titleTRB 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWashington D.C.


  • synchromodal transport
  • success factors
  • fail factors


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