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
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.
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.
- Blueprint definition LNG supply chains and synchromodal transport networks
- Multi-modal inventory-routing problems: deriving tools to enable an efficient and effective supply
- Direct delivery: deriving decision tools to enable efficient direct ship-to-ship refueling at sea.
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
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.
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.