In the last decades, logistics and supply chain management have enabled extensive commodity flows all over the world and doing so, facilitated globalisation and the related enhancement of prosperity of many people and nations. The key to this has been the invention of containerised transport systems to ease and speed up transhipments and to generate economies of scale that eventually take cost out of supply chains. Despite (and partly because of) its success, supply chain management however faces challenges that threaten the status quo. Phenomena like the increased congestion of roads, the progressing climate change as well as ever demanding customers indicate that the current form of managing supply chains involves change in order to sustain the concept’s success in the future.
When it comes to transportation, the majority of current continental cargo is moved by unimodal road freight. Road freight possesses various features that make it attractive to shippers, especially its flexibility and accessibility. However, it also comes with characteristics that negatively impact economy and society, namely congestion, cost and emissions. To meet current and future challenges in supply chain management, a mode of transport becomes necessary that maintains the accessibility of road transport, and at the same time, reduces the negative aspects of unimodal road freight.
Intermodal transport provides these attributes as it uses various modes of transport in a chain and thus combines their individual strengths. From a conceptual perspective, this is the ideal replacement of unimodal transport that can furthermore serve as the basis for more advanced transport concepts like synchro modal transport. In reality however, intermodal transport has a rather small market share which is due to technical differences, individual political intentions and discrepancies in the (intermodal) transport industry. For intermodal transport to grow its market share and to become a viable and large scale option in global supply chain management, it requires a mix of shippers that rethink their supply chain strategies, transport providers that start proper collaboration and politicians that facilitate adequate legal framework conditions and provide a comprehensive vision.
Table of content
2. WHAT IS INTERMODAL TRANSPORT?
2.2 Definition of intermodal transport
2.3 Intermodal concepts
2.4 Intermodal transport – preconditions and modes of transport
2.5 Business Model
2. MARKET AND REGULATION OF INTERMODAL TRANSPORT
3.2 Stakeholders of intermodal transport
3.3 Regulation of intermodal transport
3. INFRASTRUCTURE AND EQUIPMENT FOR INTERMODAL TRANSPORT
4. OPERATIONAL EXECUTION OF INTERMODAL TRANSPORT
5.2 Intermodal transport offer and price determination
5.3 Planning intermodal transport
5.4 IT support in intermodal transport
POLITICS RELATED DEVELOPMENTS IN INTERMODAL TRANSPORT
6.2 Governmental role in intermodal transport
6.3 Political ambitions and requirements of the industry
6.4 Initiatives and incentives
7. SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT RELATED DEVELOPMENTS IN INTERMODAL TRANSPORT
7.2 Trends in economy and supply chain management
7.3 How can intermodal transport facilitate these trends?
7.4 Green logistics and sustainability
7.5 Synchro modality
POTENTIALS AND CHALLENGES OF INTERMODAL TRANSPORT IN THE FUTURE
8.2 Intermodal concepts
DIFFICULTIES OF INTERMODAL TRANSPORT
9.2 What are difficulties related to intermodal transport?
9.3 Why do the different stakeholders not work together?
9.4 Difficulties in intercontinental intermodal transport
THE VITALITY OF INTERMODAL TRANSPORT – HOW CAN A PROMISING CONCEPT TAKE OFF IN REALITY?
10.2 Intermodal transport – a promising concept
10.3 What inhibits intermodal transport from taking off in reality?
10.4 How to increase the use of intermodal transport in the future? – Food for thought
10.5 Final words
Why this book?
In early summer 2012 the first plans were made by Frans de Jong, Kees Ruijgrok and Kees Verweij to write a book about intermodal transport but they did not have the time to put their plan into action and that is why they asked Hendrik Rodemann, an ex-student of Frans, to write the book while Frans Kees and Kees became advisors or mentors for the book’s individual sections.
Why have we written this book and why should you read it?
We are of the opinion that there is no such book that combines all relevant aspects of intermodal transport, be it conceptual and technical features, political influences, stakeholder intentions or operational insights, as does this one. Furthermore, we seek to open eyes and to raise awareness for the necessity of change of the contemporary management of supply and transport chains.
Comparable to its rather low market share, the current proportion (if there is any) of intermodal transport in study plans at universities or on the agendas of today’s decision makers is negligible. To overcome this classic case of a chicken-and-egg problem, we have written this book with the intention to inspire, educate and empower current and future leaders in economy and politics to take responsible decisions.
We strongly believe that we have reached a point at which a drastic rethink of how we get our products to (and increasingly important from) the markets becomes inevitable. So far, the story of globalisation, supply chain management and containerisation has been very successful. Without urgent change however, it might turn into an economic, ecologic and social nightmare. To prevent this, intermodal transport can be an important contributor, but should not be considered as the one and only solution. Rather, it should be supported by further facilitators such as the internet of things, the means to synchronise supply chains and the different possibilities of emission free transportation.
Regardless of how the eventual solutions will look like in detail, our wish is that you develop a mindset that is characterised by collaborating, remaining critical and continuously scrutinising concepts and conditions (including those presented in this book). We truly promote lifelong learning and hope that this book contributes to you making a difference to our economy, our society and our planet.
Enjoy reading it!
Frans & Hendrik