Uncertainty in Intermodal and Synchromodal Transport: Review and Future Research Directions

Thibault Delbart, Yves Molenbruch, Kris Braekers, An Caris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Long-haul continental freight flows still heavily rely on unimodal road transport. Intermodal transport, combining road transport with other transport modes, has the potential to have lower operating costs and to be more environmentally sustainable. However, road transport benefits from its better flexibility and adaptability to sudden disruptions and uncertainties. To facilitate a modal shift towards intermodal transport, it is crucial to improve its resilience (i.e., capability to resist and recover from sudden disruptions). Synchromodality is an extension of intermodality in which decisions on modal choice and routing are not predefined long in advance but are taken based on real-time information and may provide a step in that direction. The conducted literature review investigates how uncertainty can be handled in intermodal and synchromodal freight transport networks. The literature is classified based on the planning level, which is either strategic, tactical or operational. The main focus is on the studied types of uncertainty and the proposed solution approaches. This work contributes to the research field by reviewing the literature on intermodal and
synchromodal transport with uncertainty, presenting measures to mitigate the effects of uncertainty and proposing future research directions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3980
Number of pages25
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Intermodal transport
  • Synchromodal transport
  • Disruption
  • Stochastic
  • Literature review

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