Urban areas are vital centers of economic activity and innovation generating large economies of density
and proximity. Yet, procuring and distributing goods in an urban context is fraught with difficulties
because of infrastructure congestion, external costs, conflicting objectives among stakeholders, and
In order to improve the performance of the urban goods transport system many policies have been
proposed, including goods vehicle time windows, vehicle-type restrictions, loading\unloading policies,
fiscal policies, the promotion urban transhipment and consolidation centres. Unfortunately, not much is
known concerning how these policies affect the existing distribution practices. It is quite likely that the
impact is differentiated by type of product and distribution channel. The aim of this paper is to explore
this issue. Drawing on the existing literature and on the empirical evidence from some Italian cities, the
paper identifies and discusses the relationship between each of the above-mentioned policies and the
distribution channels of some goods (fresh food sold in retail stores, food distributed by Hotels,
Restaurants and Catering (Ho.Re.Ca.), pharmaceutical products and clothing&footwear) which are
commonly distributed in Italian urban centers. It is found that the distribution of pharmaceutical products
is unaffected by these policies, whereas the distribution of fresh food is negatively affected especially by
access time regulation and loading\unloading policies. The Ho.Re.Ca. and the clothing&footwear
channels are likely to be impacted the most by fiscal policies and by the promotion of urban transhipment
and consolidation centres.
The paper proposes a metamodelling procedure devoted to provide a reference model to be used by
decision makers in the performance evaluation of Intermodal Transportation Network (ITN). In order to
obtain a generic model describing a nonspecific ITN from the structural and behavioural point of view,
the metamodelling approach consists in applying a top down and modular procedure. The model is
specified by the well known Unified Modelling Language (UML), a graphic and textual modelling
formalism intended to describe systems from structural and dynamics viewpoints. Hence, the paper
models a generic ITN starting from the network description and shows by a case study the metamodel of
one of the most important nodes that compose it: the port subsystem. Moreover, the case study model is
translated in a simulation software and the performance measures obtained by the simulation results are
A freight terminal is a key node in a transportation network and the transit time of containers through
this terminal represents one of the most relevant bottleneck in logistic chains.
The system performance reduction and the corresponding increase of transit time is often due to the
increase of the freight flow without a corresponding increase of stacking and handling capacity.
For this purpose it was decided to approach the problem by a discrete event simulation model, in order
to reproduce the activities carried out inside an intermodal terminal, to calculate the total transit time and
to identify the bottlenecks.
The transit time of a cargo unit in a terminal is the summation of times required for the development of
each phase of the process (waiting time + operational time).
Therefore, the first step was the identification of the main activities and the analysis of waiting and
operational phases, in order to quantify the times of each phase.
For modelling the software Planimate® was used. Planimate® allows the simulation of a process as a
set of discrete events, in series or in parallel, through the use of hierarchical networks.
In order to optimise handling operations on containers, different scenarios were simulated with various
fleets of trailers and front cranes to investigate the corresponding variations of performance indicators.
For the application of the model an Italian case study was chosen: the container terminal inside the
harbour of Livorno (Darsena Toscana Terminal).
This paper analyses three different approaches of supply representation for intermodal nodes and
proposes some functional and topological models for the representation of ports and Freight Villages.
Besides in the paper functional and topological representation of container port and freight village are
Further research is directed to the specification and calibration of cost functions, useful for cost
estimation for different components of node network, with a view to facilitate the analyses of freight
mobility on multimodal large networks.