The influence of freight exchanges on the processes of road freight transport industry

The importance of freight transport, i.e., the movement of goods from a starting to a destination area, is ever increasing. In 2017, more than 2 billion tonne-kilometers were reached only within the EU. More than three-thirds can be attributed to road freight transport, making it the most used transport mode for inland transport (Eurostat 2018). While the transport volume, in general, is continuously growing due to, e.g., globalization and increasing e-commerce orders, especially the share of less-than-truckload road transport, i.e., the transportation of goods via road that do not fill a complete truck, is rising (Ridouane et al. 2020). Moreover, road transport is and most likely will be favored over other transport means due to the demand for fast and flexible delivery as well as direct access to customers (Günther and Seiler 2009). 

Scientific literature typically describes road transport as a process where a sender issues a transport order, and a carrier transports the goods to the dedicated receiver. Some authors have provided a short characterization of all relevant actors and their roles (e.g., Crainic et al. 2017, Ramstedt and Woxenius 2006 or Seiler 2012). However, their description remains at a high level and recently new actors have started to play a role in road freight transport. One interesting and industry-changing example are logistic platform providers such as freight exchanges, which use digital technologies to offer new possibilities regarding transport organization and coordination (e.g. Witkowski 2018). Their presence changes not only the picture of the road freight transport industry but also the way traditional actors do their business. Moreover, it especially poses new requirements for information systems (IS) but at the same time shows additional application possibilities for IS in the road freight transport industry.

Goals of the thesis

This thesis aims at examining how the emergence of logistic platforms is changing interactions among actors in road freight transport as well as requirements for and use of information systems. To achieve this, the following sub-goals should be addressed:

  1. Development of process model representing the interaction of classical road freight transport actors with a focus on how information systems are utilized to enable this interaction.
  2. Identification of points of interaction for logistic platform providers and resulting changes in the process model regarding the interaction among actors.
  3. Derivation of changing responsibilities/roles and new requirements as well as application possibilities for information systems due to the emergence of logistic platfrom providers.

Further information

The thesis can be both written in English or German.

Initial literature

  • Crainic, Teodor Gabriel; Perboli, Guido; Rosano, Mariangela (2018): Simulation of intermodal freight transportation systems: a taxonomy. In: European Journal of Operational Research 270 (2), pp. 401–418.
  • eurostat (2018): Freight transport statistics. European Union. Available online at, checked on 11/8/2019.
  • Günther, Hans-Otto; Seiler, Thorben (2009): Operative transportation planning in consumer goods supply chains. In Flexible Services and Manufacturing Journal 21 (1-2), pp. 51–74. DOI: 10.1007/s10696-010-9060-5.
  • Ramstedt, Linda; Woxenius, Johan (2006): Modelling appraoches to operational decision-making in freight transport chains. In: Proceedings of the 18th Noforma Conference.
  • Ridouane, Yassine; Herszterg, Ian; Boland, Natashia; Erera, Alan; Savelsbergh, Martin (2020): Near Real-Time Loadplan Adjustments for Less-than-Truckload Carriers. In Optimization Online. Available online at
  • Seiler, Thorben (2012): Operative Transportation Planning. Heidelberg: Physica-Verlag HD.
  • Witkowski, Jaroslaw (2018): Electronic freight exchange and logistics platforms in building of supply chains. In: Proceedings of the CLC 2018, Prague, Czech Republic.