The Future of Intermodal Freight Transport

The Future of Intermodal Freight Transport

Operations, Design and Policy

Transport Economics, Management and Policy series

Edited by Rob Konings, Hugo Priemus and Peter Nijkamp

This book explores the great challenge of increasing the scope of intermodal freight transport. In view of the current dominant role of road transport and the increasing difficulties in coping with a growing number of vehicles in an efficient and sustainable way, intermodal freight transport could be considered a viable alternative. However, the book makes recognition of the fact that there is still a need to improve the performance of the intermodal transport system.

Chapter 5: Bundling of Freight Flows and Hinterland Network Developments

Theo Notteboom

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, environment, transport, urban and regional studies, transport


5. Bundling of freight flows and hinterland network developments Theo Notteboom INTRODUCTION 5.1 In the pre-container era boxes were shipped from the inland production centre to the nearest port and shipping lines designed routes to cover all ports within a coastal range, resulting in captive hinterlands and limited inter-port competition. Containerization and innovations to the inland transport systems led to a time–space convergence and made market players reconfigure and synchronize liner service schedules and associated hinterland networks. As a result, captive hinterlands have quickly been replaced by intensified competition between ports, with cargo moving more flexibly from any inland location to any suitable port that interests an ocean carrier or shipper. Containerization and intermodality have strengthened the symbiotic relationship between foreland and hinterland in the sense that a true foreland–hinterland continuum has come into existence. In a shipping industry already dominated by large vessels, mergers and acquisitions and strategic alliances, the potential cost savings at sea still left are getting smaller and the pressure to find cost savings elsewhere is growing. Market players in the maritime industry have identified inland logistics as one of the most vital areas still left to cut costs, to add value and to increase profitability. This has triggered an upsurge in the interest for landside segments of the transportation market. In their search for efficient inland services, shipping lines, transport operators, port authorities and shippers have come up with network solutions leading to new dynamics in transport system...

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