Modelling European Combined Transport as an Industrial System
The purpose of this thesis is twofold: developing a method for analysis of the European combined transport industry as well as utilising the developed method to describe and analyse the industry. The second part of the purpose could also be stated as verifying the method, but the description and analysis is carried out somewhat more carefully than just for the purpose of verifying the method.
After defining the phenomenon, the production and marketing sub-systems are described theoretically, while including certain disseminated empirical facts. Then, when the basics of European combined transport are familiar to the reader, the search for a conceptual framework is presented. Four literature sources are surveyed and evaluated for suitable approaches for the study and a synthesised method is presented.
The method starts out from the basic conceptions of the network approach: actors, activities and resources. Influences from the systems approach are used for adapting the approach to cover the entire combined transport system and not just a link between two companies that is the primary subject of the network approach.
The industry analysis begins with the actors and presents empirical findings about organisation, activities and resources as structured running text. Tables are used for organising the empirical findings for each actor category.
The summed up tables are used as the basis for a brief analysis of the competitive situation within the industry. The most important finding is that the railway administrations possess powerful positions through extensive ownership of other actors and through control of the critical activity of rail haulage. However, new EU legislation is already affecting the industry and will imply changes which enhance competition within the industry. Up until now competition has only applied to certain activities.
The worked out method is regarded as suitable for the performed analysis, but more important is that a potential for further development is identified. More advanced coding in the tables allows for a deeper analysis covering such subjects as case studies along certain connections, dynamics in the division of activities and resources, market analysis as well as analyses focused on supplier relations within the industry.
the systems approach
the network approach