Document Type

Research Paper

Publication Date



Distribution of finished goods is currently an effective but inefficient process that consumes significant quantities of fossil fuel to move empty assets. This results in increased costs that are passed to the consumer and unnecessarily increased carbon emissions. The Physical Internet (PI) is focused on shared logistics that could prove to be an important element of next-generation logistics systems. The idea is to store and transport goods in anonymous standard-sized containers so that transportation and warehousing can be efficiently shared by many companies including competitors. If implemented, this idea has the potential of dramatically increasing efficiency thereby reducing fuel consumption and decreasing costs as well as emissions. This paper focuses on one aspect of the PI, intermodal hubs. More importantly, the key difference between the PI hub as imagined in this research and a transhipment facility or breakbulk terminal is that the control is decentralized; hence, this research explores decentralized control of a PI hub through experiments using scenarios and heuristics in an effort to gain some understanding how design and operations impact performance.


Paper 33

Publication Title

Progress in Material Handling Research: 2016