National intermodal policy must drive rail plan, say educators

The Intermodal Transportation Institute and the National Center for Intermodal Transportation University of Denver maintains that a new NRP must be developed within the context of this overall, national transportation policy

By ·

In its comments on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “National Rail Plan,” prominent supply chain educators have taken issue with several objectives.

The Intermodal Transportation Institute and the National Center for Intermodal Transportation University of Denver maintains that a new NRP must be developed within the context of this overall, national transportation policy that addresses numerous, complex issues, such as a growing and increasingly mobile population and the requirements of moving goods through the supply chain in an increasingly competitive international marketplace.

“The infrastructure that such a policy requires should be based upon the inherent advantages offered by rail transport,” the report said.

Contributors to the reported also noted that the various networks of transportation in the United States—rail, water, air, and highway—have heretofore developed
separately.

“This has created tension among the four modes and
has limited their opportunities and decision-making capabilities for developing a truly intermodal transportation system that would take advantage of the respective strengths of each mode,” stated the report.

The report’s contributors added that the design and the development of a national transportation system must be driven by a strategic national transportation policy that is
founded in the concept of an integrated, cohesive, national
intermodal network, which also ensures that local entities and the private sector have as much control as is practically feasible.

That might be easier said than done, said some industry analysts.

“One of the most troubling obstacles to the ability of rail to keep up with demand is the growth of local resistance to railroad expansion both in the form of increase frequency on a line or the building of new facilities,” said William J. Rennicke, a partner in Oliver Wyman’s corporate finance practice.

In a recent interview with SCMR’s sister publication, Logistics Management, Rennicke observed that “not in my backyard (NIMBY)” resistance, law suits, local permitting issues and political pressure may create capacity shortages that might not have been expected by shippers.

“From Massachusetts to California, railroad expansion projects are being blocked,” he said. “Even in blighted areas of the rust belt, residents are blocking not only the rail facilities but shipper distribution and transload facilities


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
The View from the New “Single Window”
The single window, officially known as the "International Trade Data System," operates via the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency's Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) platform, and serves as a single point of contact for all trade filings.
Download Today!
From the March 2017 Issue
WMS vendors are stepping up to the plate and developing functionalities and solutions that meet the complex needs of today’s companies. Our top analysts take a peek into these developments and discuss the DC of the future and the software that will support it.
5 Supply Chain Trends Happening Now
2017 Warehouse/DC Equipment Survey: Investment up as service pressures rise
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2017 Trucking Regulations & Infrastructure Update
In this session our panel brings shippers up to date on the state of transportation regulations. Discussion will revolve around regulatory reform, aspects of the federal highway bill and what the transportation landscape looks like in the early days of the Trump administration.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...
ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...

2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...
Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...