Multi-modal Operations and Infrastructure Modelling

Project Background

It is widely accepted that logistics will have to adopt new technologies and practices to meet the aggressive decarbonisation targets set by the UK government. The novelty of decarbonisation technology, the inherent need to manage the energy transition, and the short timescales involved will impose new demands and constraints on the organisation of the logistics system.  

Different modes could settle on different energy inputs. The maritime sector could adopt hydrogen-based fuels such as ammonia whilst the road sector could adopt direct electrification solutions such as battery or charge on the move solutions. The efficiency of the logistics system is inherently linked to its tight coupling, meaning that the energy choices made in the maritime space will inevitably impact the energy choices made by the road freight sector and vice versa. This fragmentation of energy strategy will develop operational and infrastructure challenges at the inter-modal interfaces. Whatever solutions end up being selected, the energy landscape will be very different and consequently there will have to be a redesign of the logistics system.  

Research Questions 

Our project objectives:  

  1. To demonstrate the application of agent-based models to establish the effects of widespread decarbonisation of the logistics system  
  2. To establish a range of likely future scenarios defined by energy, logistics operations and technology scenarios 
  3. To design a set of computer model experiments that will identify the major factors effecting the design, costs and operations for the case considered  
  4. To identify those factors that apply generally to the UK logistics system 
  5. Build net-zero capacity and capability through stakeholder engagement 


Agent-based modelling 

Project Lead 

Professor Philip Greening 

Co-investigators/ PhDs/ RAs 

Dr Dhanan Utomo


EPSRC - Decarbonising UK Freight