Dry Ports and the Extended Gateway Concept: Port-Hinterland Container Network Design Considerations and Models Under the Shipper Perspective
26 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2013
Date Written: August 25, 2013
The hinterland distribution of maritime containers from and to seaports has received a great deal of attention lately. Increasing traffic volumes and the introduction of bigger vessels put pressure on marine container terminals and inland transport infrastructure, leading to congestion. Solutions are therefore needed, and the development of dry ports according to the extended gateway concept is a relevant option to reduce congestion and improve the accessibility and connectivity in port-hinterland container networks, thus enhancing the competitiveness of seaports and more generally the cost and service efficiency of production-distribution and logistic supply chains.
This paper contains an introduction to key issues in the field of port-hinterland container logistics, with a focus on dry ports, the extended gateway concept, and the demand side of inland container services. The selection of services or service providers, or the routing of containers on multimodal networks is considered as an integral part of managing global production-distribution supply chains. The main considerations underlying the design of port-hinterland container networks under the perspectives of shippers are therefore discussed and a critical review of major optimization models developed by academics is presented. Through the assessment of the current state of research, important issues, challenges and requirements for more comprehensive network design modeling are identified.
Shippers evaluate the advantages and drawbacks of alternative hinterland container logistics solutions against their supply chain objectives involving various trade-offs. There is a need for new tools of analysis that incorporate more realistic features, such as regulatory environment, uncertain information, risk modeling, logistic integration, and environmental and social impacts of container distribution operations. In any case, the optimal port-hinterland network configuration from the shippers’ viewpoint is case-specific, depending on factors such as the type of goods, the level of the inventory holding costs, the service levels and pricing structures at marine and inland terminals, the customs procedures and inspection rules, the capacity constraints and the lead times for different operations, and so on.
Keywords: port-hinterland container logistics, intermodal transport, dry ports, extended gateway concept, network design, shipper perspective, supply chain management, optimization models
JEL Classification: C61, L21, L22, L23, L92, R41, R50
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