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Analysis of Seamless Intermodal Transfers in Freight 

  • October 2015
  • 11 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 3358472


Table of Contents

Analysis of Seamless Intermodal Transfers in Freight : Rail Telematics Quickly Becoming the Key Enabler to Keep Pace with Rapid Volume Growth

This market insight provides an outlook of growth opportunities for intermodal freight volumes in the rail industry around the world Intermodal freight is gaining traction globally, and rail transportation is an integral part The integration of telematics will create a whole set of benefits never witnessed before in the industry New tools such as real-time position and event tracking coupled with data visualization are creating significant gains in operational efficiency The insight discusses key trends, opportunities, approaches, and forces in the rail operator market, as well as competitive factors


Intermodal transportation is the foundation of world trade, and in the last two decades it has shown significant growth in contribution to traffic volumes It involves a minimum of two different transportation modes or services to move material from its source to its destination Intermodal transportation allows customers to take advantage of the best combination of rail, sea, and road transport for the most cost-effective freight movement, primarily for long-haul shipments An intermodal network depends not only on carrier reliability but on its overall management and the management of its individual elements Conventional railroad contracts were long term and based on high-volume movement of a certain type of freight, such as coal The main performance metric was the cost per ton per kilometer; other aspects, such as the quality of delivery, received little attention This resulted in the unreliable trip times, inefficient asset utilization, and subsequent loss of market share to road transport However, rail regulators and operators have been taking restructuring steps to make rail a more competitive and integral component of intermodal transportation

Rail-based Intermodal Transportation

The increase in global intermodal transport volumes can be attributed to efficiency, speed, and reliability The core principle in intermodal transportation is that freight is consolidated for efficient long-distance transport via truck lines, rail, or ocean carriers; local pickups and deliveries are handled by trucks Consolidation involves a hub-and-spoke model in which low-volume shipments are moved to a hub for sorting and grouping before being moved between hubs using transport services with high efficiency, frequency, and capacity The aggregate freight is again sorted and delivered using smaller vehicles Transfers between modes take place at an intermodal facility or terminal

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