Intermodal Transport in Less-than-Truckload Networks
Licentiate thesis, 2006
In producing transport services several different transport modes are available. Through the last decades, road transport has increased rapidly. This development is recognised as unsustainable. A more sustainable alternative is intermodal transport. Less-than-truckload (LTL) networks, i.e. networks designed to transport consignments not filling a truck, are historically based on road transport. Intermodal transport is an alternative on some routes in the LTL networks. A transport mode choice is at hand on these routes.
The purpose of this thesis is to contribute to the understanding of how the mode choice between intermodal transport and road transport is made in LTL networks. Previous studies of the mode choice have identified factors that are important but also emphasise the complex nature of the mode choice. However, including the context in which the mode choice is made can provide a better understanding of the mode choice complexity.
Time pressure is high in LTL networks. Five aspects of time that are important in the mode choice in the studied LTL network are identified. These can be used to broadly measure the compliance of IRRT to consolidated cargo, a LTL service. Addressing the complexity of the mode choice, the decision-making that includes the mode choice is structured by applying theoretical perspectives of decision-making and company operations. A general and descriptive model is the result. This structure is a tool to explain how the decision-making that includes the mode choice is constituted.
In LTL networks forwarders often contract hauliers to perform the transport services. This entails the mode choice being distributed to the hauliers. Forwarders, the controlling actors of LTL networks, thus have limited influence over the mode choice. Applying the quasifirm organisational perspective to the organisation of LTL networks provides some explanatory concepts showing the strengths and weaknesses of this organisation structure when it concerns the mode choice. Consequently, the thesis shows some different aspects of the mode choice in LTL networks by both empirical investigation and theoretical application.