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A shipper perspective on intermodal transport: Exploring the role of rail-truck intermodal transport in three shippers’ logistics systems
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2008 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the public debate on companies’ impact on the environment, the negative impact of transport is often put forward as an area in which companies need to find new solutions in order to decrease the amount of emissions incurred by transport. One possible way of achieving such a shift is through intermodal transport, but even though such solutions are often advocated they are not employed that extensively in industry. One reason for this could be the fact that decisions influencing logistics and transport are made by multiple stakeholders with diverging perspectives and decision scopes. For instance, whereas public authorities make decisions with respect to e.g. a country’s transport policy decisions regarding logistics from a company perspective are made with reference to the overall goal of achieving cost efficient customer service.

The paper has an explorative approach and presents empirical studies of three companies that have employed or are about to employ an intermodal transport solution that combines rail and truck transport. The purpose is to illustrate how these companies have incorporated intermodal transport into their logistics systems and what experiences they have from using this type of transport solution. The findings show that transport quality is an issue, but this is weighed against the cost advantage that this transport solution provides. Also, the companies are very conscious with regards to for what part of their respective logistics systems they can use intermodal transport without jeopardising the overall performance of the system. It is the perception of inferior quality that keeps these companies from transferring more transport tonnage from truck to a rail-truck combination. If intermodal transport is to be used by shippers more extensively than current practice reveals then there is a need to congregate the objectives of the multiple stakeholders discussed above.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. , 24 p.
Series
IMIE Working Paper, ISSN 1403-4638 ; 2
Series
IMIE Working paper series
Keyword [en]
Logistics systems, Intermodal transport, Shipper perspective, Explorative case study
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-15390OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-15390DiVA: diva2:114089
Available from: 2008-11-05 Created: 2008-11-05 Last updated: 2010-02-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Towards CO2 efficient centralised distribution
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards CO2 efficient centralised distribution
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation treats a topic that has received increasing attention as of late, namely that of the environment and in particular increasing levels of CO2 emissions caused by transport. The aim of the dissertation is to explain how a shipper, through various measures, can reduce transport-related CO2 emissions when centralising a distribution system and how this affects the provision of cost efficient customer service. Earlier research has stated that this type of structural change is considered unfavourable from an environmental viewpoint as it increases the amount of transport work generated by the system and thereby transport-related CO2 emissions. The argument that is made in this dissertation, however, is that transport work is only one aspect to consider when evaluating how transport-related CO2 emissions are affected by this type of structural change. The reason for this being that a change in structure and management of the same can enable a shipper to make other changes within the distribution system that can prove beneficial from an environmental perspective as they decrease the amount of CO2 emissions per tonne kilometre.

Theoretically, the dissertation has its foundation in two different areas in logistics research. The first area concerns logistics and the environment, where the frame of reference examines measures discussed in previous research with reference to how a shipper can reduce CO2 emissions related to transport. The second area treated in the frame of reference concerns how costs and service are affected by the structural change of centralising a distribution system and how this relates to the measures discussed in the first part of the framework.

From a methodological viewpoint, the dissertation is based on case studies. These are presented in four appended manuscripts (a licentiate thesis and three papers), where the results of these studies are used as empirical input for the synthesising analysis that is led in the dissertation.

A key deliverable from the research presented in this dissertation is a classification of measures that increase transport-related CO2 emissions and measures that decrease transport-related CO2 emissions when a distribution system is centralised. By presenting this classification, the dissertation extends previous research on the environmental impact of various logistics strategies, where centralised distribution is an example of such a strategy. With regards to this classification, it is concluded that a shipper that seeks to centralise its distribution system in a more CO2 efficient manner will aim to identify a structural configuration that minimises the increase in transport work. This is imperative as there is a close link between transport work and CO2 emissions. Hence, a CO2 efficient centralised distribution system will include more central warehouses than that advocated by earlier research on centralised distribution. This in turn implies that a shipper may not reach the full potential in economies of scale as advocated in earlier research. However, such a configuration will simultaneously lead to less transport work, whereby a shipper will be able to offset the increase in transport work by employing measures that decrease the amount of transport-related CO2 emissions per amount of transport work. The results also indicate that in addition to reducing transport-related CO2 emissions, some of these measures come with a cost incentive. By employing such measures, a shipper can come to compensate for the potential loss in economies of scale caused by employing a structural configuration that seeks to minimise the increase in transport work rather than to maximise economies of scale. By this means, the dissertation contributes to research on centralised distribution by considering how a reduction in transport-related CO2 emissions is interrelated with the provision of cost efficient customer service.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2008. 136 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1220
Keyword
CO2 emissions, Centralised distribution, Structural change, Shipper, Transport, Trade-off, Interrelationship
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-15399 (URN)978-91-7393-772-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-11-27, ACAS, hus A, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-11-06 Created: 2008-11-06 Last updated: 2015-06-02Bibliographically approved

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Kohn, Christofer

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