WIT Press

A Modal Shift Of Palletized Fast Moving Consumer Goods To The Inland Waterways: A Viable Solution For The Brussels-Capital Region?


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WIT Press


K. Mommens, P. Lebeau & C. Macharis


Intermodal transport offers different advantages in comparison with unimodal road transport. Intermodal transport can reduce the external costs. Additionally, the financial costs of transport can be reduced as well. However, city distribution is nowadays mostly achieved via unimodal road transport, while many cities are located at an inland waterway. Instead of having a large number of trucks and vans entering the city region, goods could be bundled on barges and transported within the city via the inland waterways. They would be then transhipped in urban hub(s) from where a sustainable last-mile distribution could be organized. For bulk and containers, large volumes are already shifted to the inland waterways. Palletized goods are on the contrary just starting to be transported by barges. In order to enlarge those volumes of palletized goods and consequently the economic feasibility of the concept, we analysed the possibility of a modal shift of palletized Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) for the Brussels- Capital Region. The first step consisted by collecting data on transport flows via interviews: from the initial sample of 62 major enterprises and institutions, 26 accepted an appointment, and 14 amongst them shared their transport data. Over 2.3 million tons (700,000 tons for Brussels Capital Region) of palletized FMCG were captured. The data were analysed in our LAMBTOP model. It determines the optimal hub locations on the bases of the transport flows. Their distribution resulted in 2 predefined hubs. Moreover, the model gives the financial cost of the modal shift and the potential turnover for every hub. Depending on the waterbound locations of origin and/or destination, almost 1.3 million (228,000 for Brussels Capital Region) tons can be shifted cost efficiently.


pallets, model shift, location analysis.