Synchromodality in the Physical Internet – dual sourcing and real-time switching between transport modes

Nina Lemmens, Joren Gijsbrechts, Robert Boute*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Synchromodality, also referred to as “synchronized intermodality”, employs multiple transport modes in a flexible, dynamic way in order to induce a modal shift towards more environmentally friendly transport modes like rail or inland waterways, without compromising on responsiveness and quality of service. It is characterized by the synchronized parallel usage of different transport modes and/or the ability to switch freely between transport modes at particular times while a consignment is in transit. We present a decision rule that can integrate both the parallel usage, as well as real-time switching of transport modes, either in combination or separately. It takes into account real-time stock levels and service requirements of the shipper. The policy first determines at the source which volumes will be shipped using each mode of transport, and subsequently depicts whether it should switch modes at an intermediate terminal. Using a simulation study we demonstrate how our synchromodal transport policy can induce a modal shift towards low carbon transport modes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19
JournalEuropean Transport Research Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Dual sourcing
  • Inventory control
  • Low carbon logistics
  • Physical internet
  • Simulation
  • Synchromodality
  • Transport mode choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Mechanical Engineering


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