Integrative and sustainable port hinterland intermodal development with green concerns
Date of Issue2014
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Owing to a surge in international trade volume, greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly increasing. The challenge countries and societies face today is how to reduce the associated greenhouse gas emissions while the demand for transportation volume is growing. Sustainable development in the transportation domain deserves our utmost attention. An additional challenge comes from ever-increasing customer expectations and requirements, for example, door-to-door delivery and fast delivery at minimum cost. Through conducting an in-depth review of the literature concerning the container network optimisation domain and the environmental issues in transportation planning, it is found that very few efforts have been made to the issue of intermodal container flows considering both empty and laden containers with green concerns using bi-objective optimisation. This is a research gap which will be filled by this research. Considering all of the above, port hinterland intermodal development that addresses environmental concerns has become a crucial domain for exploration, which is the main objective of this research. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods are applied in this research. A qualitative research on comparing the potentials and challenges in terms of intermodal development in China and India is undertaken. Such a comparative analysis is useful for China and India while carrying out their port hinterland intermodal development. Other countries can also benefit from this research. Two original optimisation models are developed in this research as two quantitative research methods. The first model is a tactical model with green concerns incorporated as a constraint. The second model is an operational model that takes three environmental regulatory frameworks into consideration. This operational model adds to the literature by including in its investigation three environmental regulatory frameworks, namely: (1) carbon tax, (2) carbon emission trading scheme and (3) direct restriction on carbon emission. The tactical model is an integer linear programming optimisation model. Normally, for small scale problems, they can be solved by using CPLEX solver (IBM ILOG CPLEX Optimisation Studio). However, for large-scale problems, no ready solutions are available. We thus have developed a metaheuristic algorithm to tackle the large-scale problems. We have given this algorithm the name of “the enhanced NSGA-II” algorithm. It is also worth mentioning that the three-stage supply-demand matrix-based chromosome presentation embedded in the enhanced NSGA-II algorithm is unique. The model is applied to a case study of intermodal container flows in China which is a medium-scale problem, and the enhanced NSGA-II’s results are compared with CPLEX’s results to test the enhanced NSGA-II’s performance. It is shown that the enhanced NSGA-II is able to obtain near-optimal solutions while CPLEX cannot solve large-scale problem instances. Insightful policy implications are provided in inland intermodal infrastructure development through analysing the results of the tactical model. The operational model is a mixed integer non-linear programming optimisation model. CPLEX cannot be used to solve this non-linear problem directly. Therefore, a special linearisation technique is used to transform its non-linear part to a linear relationship. After this transformation, the operational model can adapt CPLEX in solving relatively large-scale problems. A case study on a Trans-Pacific container intermodal chain is conducted to illustrate the operational model’s applicability and significance. Through analysing the results of the operational level model, it is found that carbon emission trading would be the most preferable choice among the three frameworks from both the company’s and the government’s perspectives. A medium-cap level is found to be the most preferable because it can offer more flexibility with regard to the decision-making processes of companies in the carbon emission trading market. Overall, research on sustainable development in intermodal transport and port-related topics has obtained increasing attention from scholars and industry professionals. This thesis contributes to this emerging research direction. It not only provides insights into the existing knowledge but makes practical contributions to the maritime and land transport industries and government policies.
DRNTU::Engineering::Maritime studies::Maritime management and business