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 Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
November 17, 2010 - SCMR Editorial

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

image
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 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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!

Recent Entries

Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers, recently said it is opening up the “vault,” so to speak. The vault in this case is making its copious amount of trade data accessible through an Application Programming Interface (API), which enables customers to extract Panjiva’s trade data into their own database.

Freight transportation and logistics services provider Averitt Express recently announced it has rolled out improved transit times for less-than-truckload (LTL) service from the Midwest to Toronto and other cities.

Data issued by the National Retail Federation lowered its 2014 retail sales forecast, due to a slow first six months of the year (and largely negatively influenced by the terrible winter weather), but noted that retail sales are expected to be strong over the next five months to finish the year.

Anne Ferro, a ferocious advocate for greater truck safety and a constant thorn to truck drivers and some unsafe trucking fleets, says she is leaving as administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. No successor has been immediately named.

Data issued by the National Retail Federation lowered its 2014 retail sales forecast, due to a slow first six months of the year (and largely negatively influenced by the terrible winter weather), but noted that retail sales are expected to be strong over the next five months to finish the year.

Article Topics

News · Supply Chain · Management · EPA · Finance · Logistics · Transportation · Plan · All topics

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. Patrick covers 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. Contact Patrick Burnson

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.