Intermodal Transportation In The Logistics Industry

What is Intermodal Transportation?

The industries of modern world need ease, comfort and assistance in the disposal of their products. One of the best ways to assist industries is a well-equipped and structured transportation network. In this respect an excellent transportation network is the Intermodal transportation (Qu, Bekta? and Bennell 2016). It is a type of shipping that includes many transportation ways to ship goods from the seller to the buyer. It is probably the most cost –effective to deliver products from one place to another. International intermodal on the other hand enables to experience the domestic as well as international containers. International intermodals ship across the state, border, country and around the world (Serper and Alumur 2016). The expansive use of intermodal shipping has given birth to many intermodal companies who provide rail, truck, motor, ocean and air shipping services.

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In Australia logistics and transport and transport is a large business which employs more than 1.2 million people. There are companies like Glen Cameron Group, Air Road, Kings Transport & Logistics which are running successfully satisfying the customers with their solutions (Hong et al. 2017). This report will explore the important features of an intermodal and identify various logistics management strategies to solve operational issues of a particular intermodal company. The selected company for this report is an Australia based intermodal company Glen Cameron Group which provides transport, logistics and supply chain services. The report concludes by recommending proper solutions to logistics related problems to the company and the industry as well.

In order to know the specific features of an intermodal, first the concept of intermodal transport needs to be understood. The word ‘intermodal’ connotes that a single setting of freight transportation is not enough.  In order to avail more smoothness in transportation of products and raw materials, industrial sectors prefer using multiple methods of transportation (Lam and Gu 2016). The intermodal transport for firms consists of a range of choices and the trucking facility us the first section of this large process. Trucks have been considered to be the most preferred mode of transportation in maximum advanced nations. Apart from trucks, the rails are also a good option for carrying products. There are so many intermodal trucking businesses in the US. The railroads are also sometimes used as hubs and transit centers.

The entire process of undertaking the trade is done in an organized manner. Box Drayage is one of the organized program. In various commercial activities the intermodal drayage is used. There are many types of box drayage which can be easily transported by the vehicles. One of the primary sites for the development of the intermodal trucking business is an area of lengthy beach. The long seaside intermodals services are truly effective because it is the hub for the delivery services (Li, Negenborn and De Schutter 2015). Intermodal basically uses two different modes of freight that is rail and truck in order to reach the products to the consignee from the shipper. The process generally starts by shifting a container via rail or truck.

Advantages of Intermodal Transportation

The railways provide the cost-efficient way of transport than the road transport.  The intermodal shipping reduces the cost of transport and encourages a greener environment. It is an advantageous way to lessen the firm’s carbon footprint which the environmental threat associated with the movement if freight, an economic activity. The intermodal transport is closely related with logistics and supply chain. Logistics is all about reaching the right customer, with right product in right quantity and quality on right time and cost. The supply chain management on the other hand is the networks of different companies which work together to deliver the product to the market. The primary focus of the traditional logistics is on distribution, maintenance, procurement and inventory management. The supply chain management (SCM) follows all of these activities and also adds activities including new product development, marketing, customer service and finance (Bekta?, Crainic and Van Woensel 2017).

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The Glen Cameron Group is an intermodal company established in the year 1975 encompassing a fleet of more than 350 vehicles to conduct the transportation of the goods. They also provide logistics services and supply chain services to the customers establishing a loyal and committed customer circle ( 2018). This famous logistics company was started by Glen Cameron when he was only 22 years old in Melbourne with only a tray truck. The passion of Glen was to provide quality service to his little but growing customer base which assisted him to turn the business into a large group with excellent profit within one year of operation( 2018). The company has now grown up to be a national logistics company with multimillion dollar. The Glen Cameron Group persists to expand its business throughout Australia with their huge collection of transportation services such as couriers, local trucking, interstate transport, warehousing and others( 2018). The best part about the group is that the variety of technologies and transports the company has been using may have evolved with the passing of years, but the committed and strong customer services they have been maintaining is same as it was in the year 1975( 2018).

The logistics challenges are everyday faced by the companies. These challenges can be long continuing or new ones. Some of these challenges may be resolved and some may not be overcome. The government, the company or the group are responsible for how they deal with the problem effectively and strategically. Logistics plays a significant role in developing a country’s economy. Australia is a remote, populated continent which is highly dependent on the raw material export poses remarkable challenges for logistics and transport (Bing et al. 2016). The logistics challenges in Australia is defined by challenges in terms of geography, environment, demography, technology and legislation as a whole.

Intermodal Transportation in Australia

The geographical challenges –  The geographical challenges such as urban and regional challenges are serious for different companies. The cities of Australia like Melbourne where the Glen Cameron Group is located face high traffic congestion every day( 2018). This large coastal city faces larger volumes of traffic every morning on the roads up to other cities if Australia. The motorways and the freeways are even unable to reduce the congestion. The excessive existence of toll roads affects the daily operation of a transportation company. These are the extra costs for the vehicles. Another challenge is the tyranny of distance between cities. The neighbor cities of Melbourne are Sydney and Brisbane which take more than over 10 hours of travel time which is an obstacle for transportation. Due to these long distances the drivers on the roads get extremely fatigued and it is a big safety issue. Apart from these, although the roads of Australia are quite well, the minimum population of the country leaves the condition of the roads unnoticed. Path holes are unnoticed and unrepaired heightening the possibility of accidents.

The demographical challenges –  The ageing population of Australia is posing problems in continuing the work process smoothly. In the logistics industry ageing population creates problems because the older generation is finding hard to keep up with the new technologies and facing difficulty in working efficiently like the younger generation. The population concentration in the coastal cities like Melbourne and Sydney is also creating problems.  The population growth in the regional centers are comparably slower than the coastal centers (Li,  Negenborn and De Schutter 2015). The logistics networks like Glen Cameron are facing difficulty in meeting the needs of the regional centers in the rush to meet the needs of high population in the coastal areas.

The environmental challenges –  Australia’s environmental conditions and climate change poses a variety of challenges for the logistics networks. The global awareness and the subsequent pressure also creates challenges for the companies. The pressure regarding environmental responsibility on big companies cannot be ignored. Green logistics is minimizing waste which is improving the environment and saving money also (Zijm et al.2015). Although the green logistics is beneficial for the environment and human beings, it is becoming problematic for the logistics providers to conduct the business operations smoothly by keeping in mind the environmental issues. Apart from this problem, the natural disasters are also affecting the industry. Since Australia is prone to bushfires, cyclones and floods the infrastructure and necessary equipment get damaged and the goods do not reach the destination on time.

Glen Cameron Group – An Overview

The technological challenges –  The advancements of technologies pose special challenges to this industry as they raise expenses. Although the technological advancement gives the company aa competitive edge, it also demands a considerable amount of investment. Technological system clashes give rise to delay in delivery and disruption in the delivery of messages and information (Lam and Gu 2016). With the digital advancement in technology, Australia s also depending on technology to a great deal. In this respect, aa failure of technology stops the regular operation of the logistics companies and other companies which adds extra costs for the firm.

The Legislative challenges –  The national legislation create different kinds of challenges for the logistics companies. The challenges can be in fields of operation, strategy or various levels of business. Australia faces funding disagreement problem a lot. The federal government and the state government fund the fields such as infrastructure, education and health. The disagreement on who should be paying creates problem because each level of government tries to adhere to their fixed budget. The logistics industry faces problems because due to this disagreements, railways and roads do not get constructed or repaired on time and the transportation suffers from accident issues. The governmental transport regulations demand to use special kinds of vehicles or modify the existing vehicle again incurring additional expenses.

How they might be resolved

The above mentioned challenges can be resolved up to some extents by some potential solutions.  In order to fight with the traffic congestion issue, roads can be changed to improve the flow of traffic (Allen et al. 2017). The use of public transport can reduce the car vehicles on the road again reducing the traffic issue. The warehouse relocation from the congested areas can solve the problem a lot.  The roads of Melbourne need better and systematic route planning. In order to deal with the toll problem, different routes that do not have such tolls should be used by the logistics transports (Arvis et al.2018). The issue of long distance within the cities cannot be solved but can be strategically handled by using road trains to deliver bigger loads at a time maximizing the capacity of delivery per trip. The railway mode is the best way to use in this respect. The need for distant transportation can be eliminated by having local suppliers.

The application of forced breaks can reduce the amount of driver fatigue and rate of accidents. The path holes and poor conditioned roads cannot be solved if the government does not take the initiative but can be avoided by using more road warning signs.  There should be an open platform where the community members can raise the problem of poor road condition and inform the local government regarding the seriousness of road problems.  The older roads need to be repaired soon because there is a high chance that they go through sudden breakage.  Using environment friendly transportation is the best possible way to deal with the climate change / green logistics issue. The waste materials if minimized can reduce the obstacles of regulations. The number of trips can be reduced by sending bigger loads at a time thereby ultimately reducing the pollutants emission rates. The weather forecast monitoring planning can be developed to avoid natural disasters and poor condition weather. There should be better cooling equipment in the vehicles and the warehouses.

Logistics Challenges Faced in Australia

The problem of ageing population can be dealt with additional training, job rotation and good employee management. In order to avoid the funding disagreements problem, the infrastructure projects should be accomplished by lobbying groups without any disruption. The technological challenges can be minimized by having multiple technology options so that if one technology fail somehow, the others work.  It must be ensured that all the systems are compatible and in good collaboration with the supply chain.

It is common that maximum companies fail to align the business growth drive and environmental issues. The topic of sustainability is closely connected with running the business operations without affecting the environment by anyway. In order to achieve sustainability, the Glen Cameron Group and the Australian government should involve themselves to reduce and eliminate the reasons behind environmental problems. The most effective sustainable solution is the improvement in the individual operation as we as the movements to enhance the efficiency of the means of transportation (Ilie-Zudor et al. 2015). However, a shipper cannot control everything but it can see how its own company is doing with the transportation from place to place. The logistic sustainability lowers the carbon footprint if a company and heightens the customer retention of the network. First of all, the government and the company should collaboratively try to control the carbon emission rates. Since many vehicles can run on fossil fuels, it is an eco-friendly solution to the problem (Wang et al.2018). The reduction in the delivery trips can cut down the amount of noxious gases release from the vehicles. In this way the company will not have to face the environmental violation penalties. Furthermore, use of high efficiency modes such as the ocean transportation or electric transportation can assist the shipper in establishing an effective and sustainable solution. The company should reduce the amount of waste products by not encouraging extra fuel costs. For example, if a vehicle moves without goods from one place to another, that is also a type of loss or waste.

The sustainability of the transportation will be increased if the materials are handled with care and responsibility. The government on the other hand needs to reduce the poor condition of Australian roads and make it suitable for the transports to run. The government regulations for ensuring future resources necessary for the coming generations to survive should be stricter to promote sustainability (Monios 2016). Such regulations not only increase the environmental sustainability but also supports the logistics sustainability. Since nowadays the customers keep every news about the everything on earth either via social media or newspapers, the image of the company can highly influence the customers they hold and the image depends on the way they work and the quality of service they provide (Montreuil 2016). A single drawback on the part of the company can backlash and affect the future sustainability of the company. In this respect the company can use a 3PL concentrated on the logistics optimization and sustainability. The effective sustainability practices can also be used that will minimize the company operation scrutiny and elevate the company image. Although apparently sustainability seems difficult, but it is nothing but the adoption and implementation of some actions to ensure huge resources for the future.

Geographical Challenges

Recommendation and Conclusion

Therefore, from the above discussion it can be concluded that Intermodal transportation is one of the best methods for shipping that includes many transportation ways to ship goods from the seller to the buyer. It is probably the most cost –effective to deliver products from one place to another. The Australia based Glen Cameron Group is a successful logistics company which provides the best customer service and also tries to do it in a cost-friendly and eco-friendly manner. However, the company faces some challenges in running the transportation business smoothly due to some basic problems of Australia.  Although all the challenges cannot be resolved properly, they can be reduced to some extent by adopting some measures. The Australian government and companies like Glen Cameron should work together to experience sustainability for the environment as well as for the company. Hence, it is recommended to follow the above mentioned strategies to see a better a successful and better future.


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