The beer transportation game: How to decarbonize logistics by moving freight to sustainable transport modes

Chuanwen Dong, Robert Boute

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Moving freight to sustainable transport modes is one of the most frequently mentioned suggestions to decarbonize logistics. Regrettably, even with regulation and technology developing over the past years, most of the freight volumes are still shipped via road, the least sustainable means of transport. This paper presents a beer transportation game to support logistics decarbonization via a modal shift from road to rail. In the game, student teams play the role of a logistics manager of a beer brewer and decide on the transport mode and shipment volume from the brewery to a distribution center. Their decisions are evaluated by the impact on total logistics costs and emissions. The game consists of two rounds, each with a student participation part and a lecturer debriefing part. The first round helps students understand why firms are often reluctant to shift freight from road to the low-emission transport mode (e.g., rail), and the second round encourages students to overcome the obstacles and helps them design practical approaches to alter the modal split in favor of rail transport. The game can be sealed into a 90-minute session and incorporated into any courses covering the topic of sustainable logistics or supply chain management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-112
Number of pages11
JournalINFORMS Transactions on Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Decarbonization
  • Game
  • Modal shift
  • Simulation
  • Synchromodal transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Education
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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