Can digitalization mitigate barriers to intermodal transport? An exploratory study

Ceren Altuntas Vural*, Violeta Roso, Arni Halldorsson, Gabriella Ståhle, Marina Yaruta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100525
Peer-reviewed scientific journalResearch in Transportation Business & Management
Publication statusPublished - 28.07.2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Internet of things
  • blockchain
  • cloud logistics
  • digital tools
  • transport networks

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics


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