Projects

The research interests of Vis are in the design and optimisation of sustainable transportation networks, port network design, container terminals and operations for (service) industry. The common goal in her projects is to develop new planning and control concepts to improve operations by combining quantitative and qualitative methods. She has performed numerous projects in cooperation with industry, resulting in a blend of rigorous academic work with practical applicability.

Current projects

Towards virtual ports in a physical internet

Funding: TKI Dinalog/NWO (2016-2019): project leader
Partners: University of Groningen, TU Delft, Port of Rotterdam, Groningen Seaports
The project revolves around the role of ports in the Physical Internet initiative. To use analogy with sending e-mails through the digital web, the Physical Internet (PI) is based on universally interconnected, open networks of logistic services, in which physical goods are moved around, stored, delivered and used. PI can be seen as an expansion of the current synchromodal approach, by making real-time decisions about routes, choice of transport and transhipment location of sea containers and their contents. In addition to conceptual research into the role of ports in PI, the project also involves developing decision-supporting systems for logistic operations in ports and their hinterland. This is the first Dutch research project studying PI, and is widely considered to be the world’s first project to focus primarily on the role of ports within PI networks.

Design of LNG Networks

Dinalog R&D project "Design of LNG Networks: (2013-2016): Project leader.
LNG will become a prime fuel for ships and trucks in the foreseeable future. The European Union and national governments have outlined their policies, and many companies are preparing for a transition period towards intensive use of LNG. There is a strong need in industry for the development of the building blocks needed to develop their business cases. We develop these building blocks, some business cases, as well as methods for planning and control of the logistics in LNG synchromodal transportation networks.
Activities
To reach these goals, this project unites representatives of all relevant stakeholders in the LNG supply chain: among others production of bio LNG (Ecos Energy B.V.); infrastructure (Gasunie, Vopak); refueling stations (GDF Suez); locations for establishing business (Groningen Seaports), ship-to-ship supply (Oliehandel Klaas de Boer); government (via Energy Valley Foundation); users (Feederlines, HUSA) and is supported by the National LNG Platform (with Shell Nederland, Port of Rotterdam and others as its participants) and is performed in cooperation with the TUE.

Integrated Transportation Networks

In different studies we analyse the option to integrate freight flows of different supply chains in integrated transportation networks. Next to that, we propose tools for integrating of passenger and freight flows in areas with a shrinking number of inhabitants. The latter is part of the Dinalog R&D project Cargo Hitching.

Library Network Design

Libraries face various challenging global developments. On one hand, demand for books has decreased during the last two decades. An important reason for this decrease has been the increased availability of electronic resources, such as internet and e-books16. Furthermore, subsidies have reduced due to the economic downturn17. To stay within budget limits, it is therefore vital for libraries to reduce expenses in logistics operations. At the same time, there is the desire to maintain a high service level. Our overall aim is to design solution approaches to deal with logistics challenges of libraries. In our studies we focus on designing tools to decide on internal logistics operations in libraries and their warehouses, the locations of facilities, their functionality and assortment, taking into account that demand and funding are decreasing, while service level, accessibility and societal value are to be maintained at a high level.
Part of the library research performed is part of the Dinalog R&D project Cross-chain order fulfillment for internet sales.

Sustainable logistics service offshore wind farms

NWO project: co-applicant and work package leader (2015-2019)
We aim in this project at developing new innovative methods for the sustainable design and operation of service logistics for offshore wind farms. This project is composed of several work packages that cover network design, condition-based maintenance strategies, cross-chain control of goods flows, as well as collaboration and governance aspects. In each work package, new methods will be developed that can serve as enablers for an improved service logistics process. These methods contribute in general to the field of Operations Research, proposing novel combinatorial and stochastic optimization and improvement approaches. Extensive simulation studies and scenario analyses will be performed to test the robustness and resilience of the integrated network for offshore wind farms. The consortium includes 12 public and private partners who plan on providing practical insights, and disseminating and implementing research results.

Finished projects

Port Network Design

The containerised trade market continues to grow and ports all around the world must stay attentive to retain their level of competitiveness. As a consequence, container terminals are constantly seeking new ways to increase their transhipment and storage capabilities. Next to that, terminal managers seek innovative ways to cooperate in networks of terminals. The common goal of several research projects in this area is to design new planning and control mechanisms to assist in these decision making processes. Past projects were performed in cooperation with the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. An endowment from the Ubbo Emmius Fund, sponsored by Groningen Seaports, provided in the period 2011-2015 funding for researchers to work with Iris Vis in research projects on port network design.