Role of freight transport in the logistics chain

Over the last period, we could not help but notice the rail associations and railway freight transport operators’ attempt to improve rail freight transport services to make them perfectly adjustable to the demands of the supply chain customers.

Experts from rail associations believe that it is necessary to focus on a mo-dular design of cargo trains to satisfy new market needs, to develop perfect-length cargo trains, to develop and implement
adequate shunting, transhipment and decanting techniques for freight terminals, and last but not least, it is necessary to consolidate interfaces with the other means of transport in the logistics chain.
In terms of making efficient the relationship between railway freight transport operators and logistics service integrators, one of the largest companies in the world that activate in this sector, Kuehne + Nagel declared that “First of all railway operators have to understand that logistics providers are their partners with a high interest in including rail services into their portfolio. Logistics providers can be a helpful link to customers/industries which are not traditionally bonded to rail services; for example the FMCG sector provides a huge potential for integrating transport into the logistics chain”.
Railway operators have to improve the speed within their offering process, extend their infrastructure with investments into rail sided terminal. Special focus has to be given to intermodal solutions as well. In particular formerly state-owned railway companies need to review their organisation structures in order to improve their productivity which should lead to an improved cost level and more competitive offers.
For a series of highly dense corridors in Europe, a well-shaped interconnection of the different means of freight transport is not yet finalized; in theory, things go on well, but in practice, from the point of view of the national legislation, the principle of network interconnection needs a better integration. In cross-border transport, missing links that pertain to a certain means of transport or missing links from several means of transport, no matter how small they are, can prevent the development of a single intermodal transport chain. The main disadvantage of the rail freight transport is, apparently, the lack of flexibility. For a better integration of the provided services, but also for making the logistics chain efficient, railway freight transport operators call on the IT solutions. This is also the case of Rail Cargo Ungaria, as resulted from the declarations of its representatives.
“With the help of the E-Freight Internet customer, Rail Cargo Hungaria assures comprehensive data service in case of special transport. The information services and the relating logistics systems are applied as information resources for own informatics- and process-register. The system provides possibility for special planning for railway transport beside public road transport, which saves additional costs and make the processes and the logistics more efficient. Connecting the system with water-bone transport could create the interoperability among the different modal sectors”.
Another option for harmonising a railway freight transport system is the expansion of the single wagons rail transport service. It is a very flexible system which permits the customer to fully adapt to the goods shipping opportunities. In fact, the customer can choose how many wagons they want to ship. Since transport routes for this type of transport are previously established, the customer can add wagons to the train at any time. With an annual volume of shipped goods of 100 billion tonnes/km, single wagons transport counts for 50% of the European freight transport market.

[ by Elena Ilie ]
Share on: