A dynamic shipment matching problem in hinterland synchromodal transportation

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Hinterland intermodal transportation is the movement of containers between deep-sea ports and inland terminals by using trucks, trains, barges, or any combination of them. Synchromodal transportation, as an extension of intermodal transportation, refers to transport systems with dynamic updating of plans by incorporating real-time information. The trend towards spot markets and digitalization in hinterland intermodal transportation gives rise to online synchromodal transportation problems. This paper investigates a dynamic shipment matching problem in which a centralized platform provides online matches between shipment requests and transport services. We propose a rolling horizon approach to handle newly arrived shipment requests and develop a heuristic algorithm to generate timely solutions at each decision epoch. The experiment results demonstrate the solution accuracy and computational efficiency of the heuristic algorithm in comparison to an exact algorithm. The proposed rolling horizon approach outperforms a greedy approach from practice in total costs under various scenarios of the system.