Modelling intermodal freight terminal operations

Ferreira, Luis & Sigut, Julius (1995) Modelling intermodal freight terminal operations. Road and Transport Research: a journal of Australian and New Zealand research and practice, 4(4), pp. 4-16.


Intermodal terminals are critical elements in the total freight transportation chain. They provide the interface not only between modes, but also between shippers and carriers. Therefore, the performance of those terminals needs to be closely monitored and their operations optimised with respect to the two key performance areas, namely: customer service and operational efficiency. This paper deals with the development and use of computer simulation models to be used in two types of terminal: conventional road/rail container transfer facility; and RoadRailer terminal facility.

The major factors influencing terminal performance are briefly dealt with, together with some of the measures which can be used to monitor the level of performance in a given terminal. The paper provides a detailed description of the simulation models developed for the two terminal types, together with the results obtained when the models were used to predict operating performance under different resource scenarios. Three RoadRailer terminal options were simulated ranging from low to high levels of resources. The final decision regarding the most appropriate level of resources rests on a compromise between performance targets, trailer breakdown expectation and overall operating cost.

It was found that containers are handled faster than RoadRailer trailers for train loading purposes. However, such comparisons do not take into account the full set of costs which are incurred when operating both types of terminals. The initial capital costs, in terms of track and mobile equipment, are significantly higher in the case of conventional container terminals.

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ID Code: 2490
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: intermodal terminal, freight transportation, performance, simulation model
ISSN: 1037-5783
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CIVIL ENGINEERING (090500) > Transport Engineering (090507)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1995 ARRB Group
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 11 Nov 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:28

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