Intermodal transportation refers to different modes of transport providing the same transport services. Intermodal transportation also refers to the use of coordinated transportation of freight on a single trip. Inland water, air, railroads, pipeline, trucking companies, and ocean carriers work together to move homogeneous units to offer improved services and a variety of choices for their customers, by increasing their efficiency and using the modern infrastructure. Intermodal transportation reduces cost by using each mode as part of the trip to which it is best useful. Intermodal transportation boosts the economic activities of a transport system by utilizing the modes of transport. For example, the use of rail for long distances, with trucks offering adaptable domestic distribution and pick up, makes the entire process look like a whole, not as a series of steps.
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Intermodal competition can lead to uneconomical transport services resulting in a downfall of the transport network. Competition within intermodal transportation is not in prices but in frequency. This leads to negative behavior in competition. The fair trade of resources is the main cause of competition within intermodal transportation as it has placed great demands on intermodal transport. Competition within intermodal transportation places new implementation and execution requirements that include integration and coordination of the transport systems. Customers are not concerned about the global sourcing issues and they expect a perfect delivery of their orders. Therefore, to complement the former modal measurements stipulated by regulation, it is necessary to define measures of intermodal transport broadly.
Transport modes are the ways by which freight and people carry out mobility. There are various modes of transport that depend on what surface they use and are characterized by technical, commercial, and operational characteristics. Each mode has its benefits which lead to modal competition. According to Rodrigue, Comtois, and Slack( 2013), “modes can compete in terms of speed, accessibility, safety, cost, frequency and comfort, and complement one another under different transport markets, geographical markets, and levels of service. Therefore, competition among the various modes of transport occurs when the level of service, geography, and transport overlap (para.3).
Modal competition depends on the economic value of the goods, the distance traveled, and the measure of goods being transported. The inclination for people to travel has raised with increasing income levels. Simultaneously, the production of goods and products has increased. These trends have affected the transport modes differently, with those that offer reliable and quick services gaining over modes offering slower services at a lower cost (Rodrigue et al., 2013).
Demand and supply in intermodal transportation are dependent on the terminals’ capacity. Transport supply is also influenced by the capacity for intermodal infrastructures. Transport demands are about social and economic styles and can only be explicit at a particular time. The nature of goods being transported influences the transport demand. For example, the air and road transport of passengers is dependent on the age, sex, race, modal preferences, and income of the population (Rodrigue et al., 2013).
Deregulation has also led to an increase in competition within intermodal transportation as the main aim of deregulation has been to cut the government’s prescribed control to show the economics of the transport system. Deregulation has created conducive conditions that have led to the success of the transport industry. Regulatory stress has changed to protection, ability, and environmental matters from industry accumulation, antitrust resistance, labor associations, and economic regulation such as entry and rate controls.
Rodrigue, J. P., Comtois, C., & Slack, B. (2013). Transportation Modes: An Overview. In The Geography of Transport Systems (3rd ed.). Web.
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