Manage your hinterland!

On February 24, 2014, Kristina Sharypova, one of my PhD students (which I jointly advised with my colleague Jan Fransoo) will present her PhD work. Her thesis is entitled:

Optimization of Hinterland Intermodal Container Transportation (see here for the full thesis after the defence date)

This thesis focuses on container freight intermodal transportation systems that are operated in a hinterland of a port, where hinterland is usually referred to the area that connects a port with its inland clients. Sharypova’s research is particularly focused on intermodal transportation systems based on inland waterways combined with trucks. However, methods proposed in this thesis can be generalized to intermodal transportation systems based on short-sea shipping and coastline navigation systems.

In her thesis, Sharypova proposes a new formulation for problems of designing intermodal transportation networks. This problem formulation captures the major characteristics of intermodal transportation systems: bundling of containerised freight, possible transshipment of containerised freight, and scheduling of transportation services.  In academic terms, this problem boils down to continuous- time formulation for multi-vehicle multi-commodity scheduled service network design (SSND) problem with design-balance and synchronisation constraints. Such problem formulations are extremely hard to solve with state-of-the-art solvers. Therefore, efficient meta-heuristics are developed based on the problem structure which provides good quality solutions within relatively short times.

Additionally, the thesis also deals with possible cost benefits of cooperation of terminal operating companies and possible ways of distributing coalitional costs amongst cooperat- ing parties. Then, the relevant research questions are: Can terminal operating companies achieve cost benefits through cooperation? Are there any specific conditions for that? What are the ways of quantifying these benefits?

Want to know more? Please contact me and/or take a look at the thesis of Sharypova.

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