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

While summer may be nearing its end, the climate in the manufacturing sector remains very warm, according to the most recent edition of the Manufacturing Report on Business issued today by the Institute for Supply Management.

When publicly-traded Class I freight railroad and intermodal service providers issued second quarter earnings results earlier this summer, the topic of less than ideal service on the rails was a common theme within the earnings releases and question and answer sessions with top management at those companies.

Supply chain security provider Freightwatch International has released its semi-annual report on cargo theft in the Asia Pacific region for the first half of 2014, which contains some heartening news for U.S. shippers reliant on trucking, warehousing and retail.

FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation, reports today that a decision by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed previous rulings by the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in three class action cases involving mostly former independent contractors for FedEx Ground

More talking remains before the deal is done

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.