Frameworks and Policy Applications in Freight and Passenger Transport
Edited by Joseph S. Szyliowicz, Luca Zamparini, Genserik L.L. Reniers and Dawna L. Rhoades
Chapter 3: Economic issues in multimodal freight transport security
The last 50 years have been characterized by a relevant increase in world trade that makes use of a variety of transport means to ship intermediate and manufactured goods from one country/continent to others. One significant driver for the development of such massive amounts of international trade has been due to the invention and use of containers. These enable the reduction of terminal costs at the various multimodal hubs. It is thus possible to move a large number of containers from one mode to another (ship, truck, railway and so on) reducing variability in transshipment time and costs. This has led to a massive increase in multimodal transport, especially for medium-and long-distance haulages, as it appears that for distances of less than 500 miles, multimodal transport is not normally an economically efficient alternative. The relevance of multimodal transport is matched by an enormous number of economic agents that interact at various stages in this market (ECMT, 2005). It is possible to divide them into several categories: a) primary customers (sellers and buyers of intermediate or of merchandised goods); b) transaction facilitation agents (buying agents, freight forwarders, customs brokers); c) transport firms (empty container depot operators, warehouse/warehouse container freight station operators, inland terminal operators, road carriers, rail carriers, barge operators, ocean carriers, port terminal operators, airport operators, among others); d) authorizing or regulatory agencies (transport authorities, customs authorities, import/export licensing authorities, sanitary agencies, import/export statistical agencies, among others); and e) financing agents (banks and insurance providers).
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