Relevant information at terminals can improve freight transports

​Only the relevant information – in the precise right moment. Effective access processes can improve the flow at freight terminals with intermodal transports, where different modes of transport are used. This is shown in Stefan Jacobsson's new doctoral thesis. The result indicates less queues and reduced emissions, which can contribute to more sustainable freight transports.

​What challenges do you focus on in your research?

“A pivotal element in the transport industry, intermodal freight transport, is rather complex due to the numerous transport modes and actors involved. Terminal operators in intermodal freight transport face major challenges to provide seamless flows of containers via their terminals. Seamless flows are achievable by bridging gaps between large-scale transport operators, e.g. shipping lines, and small-scale transport operators, e.g. road hauliers and rail operators.”

How do you address the problem?

“Those gaps can be bridged with effective access processes. This mean the exchange of the right information at the right time, to achieve improved resources utilisation and activity performance in involved terminal- and transport processes. With effective access processes, wait times for trucks and trains at terminals can be decreased as well as the right containers at the right time can be accessed.”

“By applying the access processes, small-scale transport operators can receive effective access to containers in terminals. An effective access process can be achieved when transport resources – such as trucks and truck drivers – can be managed together with terminal resources – such as so called straddle carriers and straddle carrier drivers. In this thesis, such management is termed “access management”.

What were the main findings of your research?

“Terminal- and transport processes can be effective with decreased wait times for trucks and trains at terminals and with access to the right containers at the right times if actors involved are willing to apply five identified access management services presented in the thesis. Those services are able to share and/or exchange information.”
 
“My research indicates that only a subset of information attributes is necessary to be exchanged for effective access management. This result can question the “Big Data” concept whereas much information as possible should be exchanged. Instead, actors involved need only to exchange relevant information. For example, road hauliers and rail operators need to in advance inform the terminal operators about what and at what time the containers are to be picked up or dropped off. With this information, the terminal operators can effectively prepare the arrivals of the trucks and trains that in turn can lead to seamless flow of containers through the terminals.”

“My research shows that if the road hauliers and rail operators can share this information 1 week, 1 day and 2 hours before the arrivals of the trucks and trains, the terminal operators are able to make the preparations in the best way and effective access management can be achieved. Moreover, by sharing this information, the resources can be utilised effectively and the activities in the terminal- and transport processes can be performed effectively.“

What do you hope your research will lead to?

“I hope that my research can lead to increased understanding about how effective access management can be achieved. Namely, I hope that the frameworks developed in this thesis can be applied and further developed to be adopted in other settings, e.g. in other terminals. I also hope that my research can lead to increased understanding for actors involved about how they can apply the five identified access management services and how these services have different abilities in sharing and exchanging information that in turn have different abilities in contributing to effective access management.”
 
“With increased understanding and the application of those frameworks as well as the five identified access management services, seamless flows of containers through the terminals may be achieved that in turn can lead to decreased wait time for trucks and trains at terminals that in turn can lead to reduced queuing and emissions that in turn can lead to a more sustainable intermodal freight transport system.”


Text compilation: Daniel Karlsson

See film from trade fair Logistik & Transport 2019 where Stefan Jacobsson presents the project DREAMIT, Digital Accesshantering i Realtid för Intermodala Transporter
 

The thesis defence will be online on Zoom, 17 June 2020 at 13.15, find link here

More about industrial PhD Stefan Jacobsson

 

Published: Tue 30 Jun 2020.