Time perspectives on Intermodal transport of consolidated cargo
Conference contribution, 2005
Intermodal road-rail freight transport is often argued to have certain handicaps against all-road transport. This applies to costs, which is well elaborated in the scientific literature and the public debate. A less discussed handicap regards time, although transport time and reliability is often mentioned as a major factor hampering intermodal growth. Based on theory defining the elements transport time, order time, timing, punctuality and frequency, literature on modal choice is surveyed. With few exceptions, transport time and punctuality is top ranked, while frequency and timing is regarded as less important by respondents. Timing is excluded in some studies and order time is not found. The time elements are also used for comparing the characteristics of intermodal transport and all-road transport. Particular attention is paid to the preconditions for using intermodal transport as part of consolidation networks with subsequent terminal handlings.
Since time aspects in transportation are highly contextual, the analysis is deepened within the framework of a case study focusing Schenker's domestic transport services in Sweden. Schenker's time requirements stemming from the operations of the consolidation network are matched against the times CargoNet, their main supplier of intermodal terminal-to-terminal services, can offer. Both networks follow the night leap production cycle with pick-up/departure time in the early evening and arrival/delivery times in the morning.
Not surprisingly, the logistics service provider uses intermodal transport primarily over longer distances. It is concluded that correspondence of the transport time between the consolidation network and the intermodal network are in fact not a strong prerequisite to use intermodal transport, although correspondence of departure and arrival times is significantly higher for the intermodal relations regularly used by the logistics service provider. Regarding timing, adjusting departure and arrival times by one hour will not increase the competitiveness for the consolidated cargo significantly, more profound adjustments are required. The order time of the intermodal freight transport service is not well suited to consolidated cargo due to volume information unavailability. The consolidated cargo schedule is sensitive for rather small deviations in punctuality. However, relations that are attractive to the hauliers contracted by the logistics service provider show better performance than the average intermodal freight transport relations studied. Due to the strong night leap production cycle, the frequency is of less importance in the case study.
intermodal freight transport
logistics service provider