AdONE Seminar: Prof. Clemens Thielen (Hochschule Weihenstephan Triesdorf)

An Analysis of the Stability of Hinterland Container Transport Cooperation

Cooperation among transport operators has the potential to reduce the total cost of cargo transport significantly, but raises the question of how the generated cost savings should be distributed among the participants of a cooperation and whether the resulting cooperation is stable in the sense that no subset of operators can benefit from jointly leaving the cooperation. We study cooperation among hinterland container transport operators that may share transport capacity and demand in corridors between a sea port and an inland terminal. We model this transport problem as a minimum cost flow problem and assume that cooperating operators share the total transport cost according to the Shapley value cost allocation, which has been established as a reasonable prediction for this cost sharing in the literature. We investigate the stability of the Shapley value as a function of a cost parameter and obtain mathematical characterizations and numerical results both for the case of horizontal cooperation on a corridor with identical operators and for several generalizations. These generalizations include a more complex transport network that involves an additional opportunity for vertical cooperation. Our results show that the demand-over-capacity ratio is a main discriminant for stability in horizontal cooperation settings and that an additional vertical cooperation opportunity can never be disadvantageous for stability and does actually foster stability as soon as vertical cooperation becomes beneficial.