Modeling food logistics networks with emission considerations: the case of an international beef supply chain

M. Soysal, J.M. Bloemhof, J.G.A.J. van der Vorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

131 Citations (Scopus)


Intrinsic characteristics of food products and processes along with growing sustainability concerns lead to the need for decision support tools that can integrate economic considerations with quality preservation and environmental protection in food supply chains. In this study, we develop a multi-objective linear programming (MOLP) model for a generic beef logistics network problem. The objectives of the model are (i) minimizing total logistics cost and (ii) minimizing total amount of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation operations. The model is solved with the ee-constraint method. This study breaks away from the literature on logistics network models by simultaneously considering transportation emissions (affected by road structure, vehicle and fuel types, weight loads of vehicles, traveled distances), return hauls and product perishability in a MOLP model. We present computational results and analysis based on an application of the model on a real-life international beef logistics chain operating in Nova Andradina, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil and exporting beef to the European Union. Trade-off relationships between multiple objectives are observed by the derived Pareto frontier that presents the cost of being sustainable from the point of reducing transportation emissions. The results from the pie chart analysis indicate the importance of distances between actors in terms of environmental impact. Moreover, sensitivity analysis on practically important parameters shows that export ports' capacities put pressure on the logistics system; decreasing fuel efficiency due to the bad infrastructure has negative effects on cost and emissions; and green tax incentives result in economic and environmental improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-70
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • life-cycle assessment
  • operations management
  • programming approach
  • green logistics
  • design
  • sustainability
  • challenges
  • inventory
  • quality
  • systems

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