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Vehicle routing in cold food supply chain logistics: a literature review

Mahmoud Awad (Industrial Engineering Department, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
Malick Ndiaye (Industrial Engineering Department, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
Ahmed Osman (Industrial Engineering Department, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)

The International Journal of Logistics Management

ISSN: 0957-4093

Article publication date: 8 December 2020

Issue publication date: 29 April 2021

781

Abstract

Purpose

Cold supply chain (CSC) distribution systems are vital in preserving the integrity and freshness of transported temperature sensitive products. CSC is also known to be energy intensive with a significant emission footprint. As a result, CSC requires strict monitoring and control management system during storage and transportation to improve safety and reduce profit losses. In this research, a systematic review of recent literature related to the distribution of food CSC products is presented and possible areas to extend research in modeling and decision-making are identified.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyzes the content of 65 recent articles related to CSC and perishable foods. Several relevant keywords were used in the initial search, which generated a list of 214 articles. The articles were screened based on content relevance in terms of food vehicle routing modeling and quality. Selected articles were categorized and analyzed based on cost elements, modeling framework and solution approach. Finally, recommendations for future research are suggested.

Findings

The review identified several research gaps in CSC logistics literature, where more focused research is warranted. First, the review suggests that dynamic vehicle modeling and routing while considering products quality and environmental impacts is still an open area for research. Second, there is no consensus among researchers in terms of quality degradation models used to assess the freshness of transported cold food. As a result, an investigation of critical parameters and quality modeling is warranted. Third, and due to the problem complexity, there is a need for developing heuristics and metaheuristics to solve such models. Finally, there is a need for extending the single product single compartment CSC to multi-compartment multi-temperature routing modeling.

Originality/value

The article identified possible areas to extend research in CSC distribution modeling and decision-making. Modified models that reflect real applications will help practitioners, food authorities and researchers make timely and more accurate decisions that will reduce food waste and improve the freshness of transported food.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding This work was supported by the American University of Sharjah Smart City Research Institute grant SRC-18.

Citation

Awad, M., Ndiaye, M. and Osman, A. (2021), "Vehicle routing in cold food supply chain logistics: a literature review", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 592-617. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLM-02-2020-0092

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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