Sustainability and intermodality in humanitarian logistics: A two-stage multi-objective programming formulation: a two-stage multi-objective programming formulation

Oscar Rodríguez-Espíndola*, Prasanta Dey, Pavel Albores, Soumyadeb Chowdhury

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When managing crises and disasters, decision-makers face high uncertainty levels, disrupted supply chains, and damaged infrastructure. This complicates delivering resources that are essential for the survival of the victims. Flexible and adaptable supply networks are needed to ensure a consistent flow of relief to the areas affected by disasters. Intermodality is a valuable approach when infrastructure is damaged, as it allows the use of different delivery modes to reach demand areas. Nevertheless, involving different transportation modes has an impact on the environment. Looking at the importance of helping victims and considering the environmental impact of humanitarian operations for long-term sustainability, intermodality and carbon emission reduction measures can be an interesting combination. This area, however, is currently understudied. This article introduces a two-stage stochastic formulation to fill that gap. The model addresses facility location, resource allocation, and intermodal relief distribution considering carbon emission reduction in facilities, intermodal activities, and distribution. The formulation minimises costs and the level of shortage of relief. The model is tested using a case study in Sinaloa, Mexico, to investigate the impact of intermodality and carbon emission reduction measures on costs and shortage of relief for disaster victims. The findings confirm that the model proposed allows for the diversification of transportation modes and reduces carbon emissions whilst achieving a good level of performance in both metrics. The comparison with a benchmark model without intermodality and carbon reduction measures suggests that the formulation can increase flexibility and reduce the level of CO2 emissions whilst maintaining high satisfaction rates.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Operations Research
Early online date28 Jun 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

Funding: This work was supported by an Institutional Links grant, ID 527666998, under the Newton UK-Mexico partnership. The grant is funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and delivered by the British Council. For further information, please visit


  • Carbon reduction
  • Humanitarian logistics
  • Intermodal transportation
  • Multi-objective optimisation;
  • sustainability


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