There a several Planning Apart Together challenges in supply chains. Let us mention three examples for the three modalities: water, road, and rail.

Liquid bulk/short sea

For liquid bulk and short sea we see similar challenges as for barges. Liquid bulk and short sea ships often also have to visit multiple terminals to load and unload freigth. Also here an alignment of ship and terminal activities is necessary to allow both of them to operate efficiently. We expect that savings can be realized through shorter and reliable port turn-around times of ships and more efficient use of terminal resources.

Trucking companies

The second example is cooperation between competing trucking companies. To operate efficiently, trucking companies aim to reduce the empty miles driven. However, this is not always possible since their orders do not always allow them to do so. Cooperation gives trucking companies these possibilities, since they can fill empty miles with orders from each others order pool. However, cooperation between competing companies is not easy to realize. Also here a Multi-Agent system might help provided that it is designed in a proper way. An real-world example of cooperating trucking companies is TruckLoad Match B.V. in Rotterdam.

Public rail infrastructure

In the Port of Rotterdam different companies make use of the same rail infrastructure. Each company wants to send or receive trains when it is convenient with respect to their operations. However, if all companies would do so, the throughput on the public infrastructure would decrease dramatically and a lot of yard capacity is needed to store trains temporarily. Coordination between the competing firms is necessary. Allocating train slots centrally might be complicated, since it requires to weigh the interests of the companies. Also here we see an example of a Planning Apart Together challenge, or how to cooperate in a competitive way. Next>>