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Review article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Digitalization and Automation in Intermodal Freight Transport and Their Potential Application for Low-Income Countries

Kine, H.Z.; Gebresenbet, G.; Tavasszy, L.; Ljungberg, D.


This paper presents an assessment of enabling technologies in intermodal freight transport. It first identifies the technologies used in intermodal freight transport globally using a systematic literature review. Then, it characterizes intermodal freight transport in the context of low-income countries to assess the potential application of digitalization and automation for the countries. Countries with a per capita gross national income (GNI) lower than $1025 are categorized as low-income countries. To achieve the objectives, a review was undertaken of 147 published articles from Scopus, Web of Science, and Transport Research International Documentation (TRID). Furthermore, distinctions of intermodal transport in low-income countries were also characterized using gray literature. A number of enabling technologies applied at components of intermodal transport were identified. The results demonstrated that several enabling technologies such as wireless communication technology, sensors, positioning technology, and web-based platforms are highly utilized in intermodal freight transport globally. In contrast, electronic data interchange (EDI), wireless communication technologies, and web-based platforms also have potential applications in low-income countries, and their adoption should be studied further.


automation; digitalization; ICT; intermodal freight transport; low-income countries

Published in

Future Transportation
2022, Volume: 2, number: 1, pages: 41-54
Publisher: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)