Can digitalization mitigate barriers to intermodal transport? An exploratory study
Journal article, 2020

Although it offers both economic and environmental advantages particularly for long-distances, intermodal transport is still not utilized effectively, and it is challenged by many barriers to its utilization. On the other hand, the transport sector is influenced by recent trends, such as digitalization, Industry 4.0 and many technological innovations are introduced, aiming to transform the way of doing business. Therefore, understanding digitalization's potential to solve the transport sector's struggle for a higher degree of integration between different modes in intermodal transport is important. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the potential of different digital tools in mitigating barriers for increased utilization of intermodal transport. Semi-structured interviews and a policy Delphi study combined with a brainstorming session are conducted to classify various barriers for intermodal transport under certain categories and to understand if and how selected digital tools could help to mitigate these barriers. Findings indicate that the multi-actor nature of intermodal transport networks results in varying perceptions related with digital tools and technologies. This variance acts as a hindrance for digitalization within the conservative context of transportation industry and its cost-based competition structure. Adoption by market leaders, demand from intermodal transport buyers, vertical integration in intermodal transport chains are potential mitigation factors for elimination of barriers to digitalization in intermodal transportation.

Transport networks

Digital tools

Internet of things

Cloud logistics



Ceren Altuntas Vural

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Violeta Roso

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Arni Halldorsson

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Gabriella Ståhle

Student at Chalmers

Marina Yaruta

Student at Chalmers

Research in Transportation Business and Management

2210-5395 (ISSN)

Vol. 37 100525


Interreg (NYPS20202383), 2019-09-01 -- 2022-08-31.

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Business Administration



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