Anticipatory approach for dynamic and stochastic shipment matching in hinterland synchromodal transportation

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This paper investigates a dynamic and stochastic shipment matching problem faced by network operators in hinterland synchromodal transportation. We consider a platform that receives contractual and spot shipment requests from shippers, and receives multimodal services from carriers. The platform aims to provide optimal matches between shipment requests and multimodal services within a finite horizon under spot request uncertainty. Due to the capacity limitation of multimodal services, the matching decisions made for current requests will affect the ability to make good matches for future requests. To solve the problem, this paper proposes an anticipatory approach which consists of a rolling horizon framework that handles dynamic events, a sample average approximation method that addresses uncertainties, and a progressive hedging algorithm that generates solutions at each decision epoch. Compared with the greedy approach which is commonly used in practice, the anticipatory approach has total cost savings up to 8.18% under realistic instances. The experimental results highlight the benefits of incorporating stochastic information in dynamic decision making processes of the synchromodal matching system.