Location analysis for the modal shift of palletized building materials

At present, the distribution of palletized building materials is mostly carried out by trucks, despite their movements having negative effects on society, the economy and the environment. However, these problems can be reduced if the transport of palletized goods is shifted to inland waterways. By doing so, the goods are bundled for the main haulage by barge. In order to reduce the transport distances by truck to an absolute minimum, a possible last-mile distribution would have to be organized via a limited number of directly canal-served hubs. The locations of those hubs are crucial for the feasibility of modal shift. This study advances the transport geography literature by elaborating a location analysis model specifically for palletized goods. This model determines the optimal hub location by taking into account the large variation of origins and destinations of transport flows, while the introduction of a cost structure enables potential economic gains (cost savings) and reductions in CO2 emissions to be calculated. The analysis is performed for transport data on palletized building materials in Belgium. Two concepts were defined, which resulted in an optimal intermodal network of 9 hubs and one with 27 hubs; through the implementation of these networks, respectively 26% and 38% of the transport flows can be shifted to the inland waterways at a profitable cost. It can be expected that over time these percentages will increase further.


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  • Accession Number: 01521578
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 12 2014 1:19PM