A framework for modelling and analysing coordination challenges in hinterland transport systems

Volkan Gumuskaya (Corresponding author), Willem L. van Jaarsveld, Remco M. Dijkman, Paul W.P.J. Grefen, Albert W. Veenstra

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Multimodal transport systems connect seaports to their hinterland and have potential economic, social and environmental advantages over road transport. However, currently this potential is realised only to a limited extent, and road transport still dominates the market. We have conducted in-depth interviews with practitioners to explore possible reasons. We find that lack of coordination at the operational level between the parties involved in transport systems leads to inefficiencies in hinterland transport systems and compromises the advantages of multimodal transport. Although academic research recognises the significance of coordination, it generally employs an economic perspective at a strategic level, but does not say much about actual implementation at an operational level. To fill this gap, we develop a framework to model coordination challenges in hinterland transport, with an emphasis on the operational level. The framework is inspired by the modelling approaches in earlier literature, and tailored based on the common characteristics of coordination challenges observed during our interviews. Further, we propose a method to analyse such models in depth and reveal specific insights such as inadequacy of contracts to facilitate coordination, the dynamics of consequential planning decisions, and shortcomings in information exchange. To demonstrate the applicability of our framework, we use it to model and analyse the particularly tenacious coordination challenge of barge congestion in the Port of Rotterdam.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-145
Number of pages22
JournalMaritime Economics and Logistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • transport logistics framework
  • hinterland transport
  • port of rotterdam
  • barge congestions
  • multimodal transport
  • container transport
  • information exchange
  • Port of Rotterdam
  • Hinterland transport
  • Barge congestion
  • Multimodal transport
  • Transport logistics framework
  • Contractual structures
  • Information exchange
  • Container transport


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