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

Company says the Cloud offering allows customers to respond more quickly to new business opportunities, without significant upfront cost and implementation times.

As e-commerce continues to take a bigger piece of the holiday package delivery pie, it stands to reason that companies need to be proactive and prepared in order to deliver premium service during the busiest time of year, which is rapidly approaching. And that is exactly what transportation giants UPS and FedEx are doing this year. How are they doing it exactly? The primary step they are taking is to up their numbers of seasonal staffers.

A recent hearing of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation suggests that the U.S. Merchant Marine industry may be poised for a major comeback.

Spot market freight volumes for the month of August remained elevated compared to seasonal norms, according to data issued this week Portland, Oregon-based freight marketplace platform and information provider DAT.

Factors such as rising freight rates, shrinking capacity, an increased desire for global supply chain visibility, have all worked together to drive the need for instituting a culture of continuous improvement in logistics operations and transportation management systems (TMS). To meet today's complex logistics challenges, managers are stepping into a more streamlined, automated approach to transportation management in order to function at optimal levels both domestically and internationally. Read the latest special report.

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.