LT.20.009 – Leading the transition towards ‘Freight Mobility as a Service’ in intermodal freight transport: challenges ahead

Route: Logistics and transport in an energetic, innovative, and sustainable society

Cluster question: 027 What are smarter and greener ways of transporting passengers and goods that make optimal use of all forms of transport?

The container throughput of the main European seaports has witnessed a sharp increase in the last two decades. Increasing container volumes put pressure on the capacity, flexibility, and performance of hinterland transport. Concurrently, there is an increasing request for a modal shift to trains and barges while their success is jeopardized by the lack of flexibility and low margins. As a result, only-road transport is still the dominant modality for European hinterland transport. A potential solution is a transition towards booking platforms that enable transport operators to present their (excess) service, and users to plan and book for multiple types of modality services. This joint digital channel, known as ‘Freight Mobility as a Service (FMaaS)’, is expected to increase the utilization of barges and trains and favor the synchronization between shippers and transport providers. Similarly to other industries, i.e. airline and hotel, a booking platform allows the customer, i.e., the shipper, to have a direct overview of the available capacity, even access discounts in the spot market, and limit intermediary costs. Yet, a challenge can be the (conditions for) acceptance of FMaaS by shippers. Contrary to current freight transport services that are defined from a provider’s viewpoint, FMaaS needs to be defined with a user-centric position. In other words, we need a shift in transportation solutions to an on-demand service. Clearly, the shippers’ acceptance can be critical for the success of this idea. At the supply side, the main challenge would be the (uncertainty in) capacity planning for the service provider. This project aims to develop some innovative concepts and decision tools to tackle the aforementioned challenges. Moreover, we seek to investigate the effects of overbooking policies in combination with synchromodal services and how they should be integrated in the booking systems. Finally, the formal contract setting and service pricing can be challenging issues and call for scientific research.


booking platforms, mobility-as-a-service, multimodality, overbooking & synchromodality, shipper perspective, uncertainty management

Other organisations

Tilburg University (TiU), Wageningen Universities and Research (WUR)


Organisation Technische Universiteit Delft (TUD)
Name Dr. S. (Stefano) Fazi