Intermodal transportation in humanitarian logistics with an application to a Turkish network using retrospective analysis

ERTEM M. A. , AKDOĞAN M. A. , Kahya M.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DISASTER RISK REDUCTION, vol.72, 2022 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 72
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2022.102828
  • Keywords: Intermodal freight transportation, Integer programming, Retrospective analysis, Container warehouses, Transfer hub, MODEL, RESILIENCE, OPERATIONS, RELIEF, DESIGN


In the event of disruptions in a transportation network following a disaster, humanitarian organizations find it challenging to provide basic requirements for beneficiaries. Demand may be met using intermodal transportation as an alternative when the unimodal transportation infrastructure is damaged. This study proposes a mathematical model for utilizing intermodal transportation using 40 ft standard containers while delivering relief supplies by road, rail, and sea modes. The proposed model is a capacitated multi-period multicommodity intermodal network flow model in which relief supplies are delivered to beneficiaries in three echelons (i.e., supply, intermodal hub, and demand). The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency's container warehouses (i.e., supply), logistics centers and container ports (i.e., intermodal hubs) are utilized to test the mathematical model with real-life demand parameters. Retrospective analysis was performed to determine the most frequently used container warehouses, logistics centers, and origin-destination pairs. Hence, an increase in operational capacity and infrastructure reinforcement is recommended to mitigate the effects of future disasters. We found that intermodal transportation is more robust to network disruptions in rapidly delivering relief supplies. We observed that intermodal transportation is utilized in disasters with more than 50,000 beneficiaries or disrupted unimodal infrastructure. For instance, after the future Istanbul earthquake, it would be impossible to deliver the relief materials only by road transportation within the urgent response period. Thus, the benefits of intermodal transportation in humanitarian logistics are more visible in large-scale disasters in which transportation resources are scarce, and transportation infrastructure is more likely to be destroyed.