Intermodal is a process of transferring goods by two different modes of transport. Intermodal companies assure the goods to be transferred on time. Intermodal passenger transport and intermodal freight transport are two different modes of transport that intermodal companies mainly deal with. In addition, intermodal freight transport includes the uses of two modes of freight, such as rails and big trucks for the purpose of shipment of goods from consignor to consignee (Bruns et al. 2014). The process of intermodal is like a transportation cycle. At first, the goods in a container being shifted to rail by a truck, then the rail transports those goods to prescribed destination and then the goods being unloaded and moved back to a truck and that completes a transportation cycle. In a recent survey, it has been recorded that nearly about 26 million containers with goods being moved every year (Assadipour, Ke and Verma, 2015). Intermodal companies have their logistic organisations to move the goods from the origin point to destination. The following study is going to critically analyse an intermodal company background, some of the features of intermodal and some issues in logistics in the company.
Moorebank Intermodal Company is an Australian company owned by the Australian Government organisation to provide facilities to the Moorebank intermodal terminal (Xu, Cheng and Huang, 2015). In May 2010, the government of Australia has given a task to the finance and free trade department to conduct to a detail study about the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal at Moorebank in NSW. For the assistance in preparation of the study the department of infrastructure and transport and the department of defense have teamed up (Greenhalgh, 2018). The study wholly examined the problems regarding financial, social, economical environment in the terminal. The study then examined the overall environmental factors that are being affected and created a plan for the development project of the Moorebank intermodal terminal. The project plan was to establish a company that can provide all the facilities and can resolve major issues in the terminal. It was established and came into existence in 2012. The Moorebank intermodal terminal was an under-construction terminal where the goods in containers were being moved from the shipper to the consignee. The government of Australia has taken a vital step and appointed a committee to establish a new company with the insolvent of private sectors for the development of Moorebank intermodal terminal. Hence, Moorebank Intermodal Company is formed in December, 2012.
Important Features of an Intermodal
Every industry and its production require the comfort and convenience in the transportation of their products. One of the best ideas for better transportation service that occur into the mind is Intermodal transportation, as it offers a safer and secure transport service without any hassle or hindrances. For better comfort and safety in transportation, industries have a number of options to choose the transportation modes of their own choices. In many developed and developing countries trucks are more often used in the transportation of goods as it covers long distance transportation (Pourbeyram, Nazemosadat and Mafi, 2015). A large number of vehicles are used in the process of transportation for long-distance transport and to convey goods in a safer and secure way. Apart from trucks, the rail performs more likely than the trucks, as it covers a long-distance transportation within a very short time period with all the safety requirements from the shipper (Haut and Michau, 2014). For some of the other transportation tasks an organised program has been introduced called box drayage. While transporting goods in short distance area, transportation is done through ground freight i.e. by trucks or other vehicles from origin point of the goods in the terminal to the rail camp or port (Wang et al., 2018). Intermodal transportation is a fast mode of transportation to transfer recyclable goods, large equipments and delicate goods (Ambra, Caris and Macharis, 2018). As it has been already discussed, Intermodal Company mainly deals in logistics to transport freight and has a number of other important features also that are discussed below-
- Fastest modes of transportation- Intermodal Company provides the fastest mode of transportation to the shipper for transportation of freights and recyclable goods. Moorebank Company has very effective modes of transport which can deliver the goods within the given period of time with security (Harder and Smith, 2018).
- Large area- It covers a large area for the process of moving, shifting and loading goods to the container for transportation by truck or rail. Moorebank Intermodal Terminal covers a large working area where its trucks move and shifts the goods to then rail camp and from there the goods being moved to their respective destinations.
- Safety and security- Intermodal Company ensures the security of the goods in transportation (Agamez-Arias and Moyano-Fuentes, 2017). However, rail service of an intermodal is significantly safer than the road service of transportation.
- Operations in the terminal- the Moorebank Intermodal Company ensures that the operations and activities are running smoothly with an objective of increasing the overall productivity by enhancing the supply chain, increasing the capacity of freight and improved rail transportation.
- Cost control- It controls the transportation cost to provide a cost-effective transportation experience to the shippers and consignees as well. By controlling the cost, shippers can take benefit of cost reduction and lower rates in transportation of goods.
- Quality control- Moorebank Intermodal Company is a much known company so it maintains the reliability among the shippers towards them. Hence, it manages the quality check program to ensure that the goods which are going to be transferred are not damage or in damaged packing condition (Martínez-López et al., 2018). It ensures the shippers that the goods are the responsibility of the company and it can be delivered properly within given period of time without any damage.
- Capacity control- The Moore Intermodal Company manages a capacity control also that determines the capacity of the containers for loading the goods. It checks the overall capacity of a container and identifies where the goods can be loaded in that container (Xie et al., 2017).
Issues in Current Logistics Network in NSW
Logistics Network, while being very beneficial and integral part of an organization still have some issues that can heavily affect the logistics system of the organization. For the Moorebank Intermodal Company located in the New South Wales area, there are some critical issues in the contemporary logistics network which can affect the company itself. These issues and problems are:
- The first and foremost issue that is present within the contemporary logistics network of NSW is the Urban planning. Due to being a developed area of Australia, NSW has various roads and highways interconnected with each other and taking them to different destinations. However, this causes the problem of traffic congestion and excess toll booths which hinders the transportation process. For the Moorebank Intermodal Company located in the Moorebank in NSW, this creates the issue of reduced efficiency in their freight and cargo transport through the roadways (Mangan, Lalwani, and Lalwani, 2016).
- The next main problem is the regional issues of the area of NSW. NSW, being a dry and deserted region aside from the cities, have underdeveloped roads which are in poor conditions. Moreover, these areas are often inhabited by animals of the region such as Kangaroos, Armadillos, and many others. For the Moorebank Intermodal Company, this creates the issue of getting involved in accidents where the poor road conditions often cause damages to the transports and animals are accidentally hit with the freight cars or trains. This causes an increased time consumption of the delivery as well as damages to the goods that were being transported (Sakalayen, Chen, and Cahoon, 2017).
- Technological issues are one of the most crucial and critical issues that have affected the contemporary logistics network of NSW. The advent of new technologies is beneficial for the logistics network, however, they are very expensive and moreover, the lack of ERP systems can cause heavy issues for the logistics network. For the Moorebank Intermodal Company, these technological issues result in the generation of low profit as well as cause issues in resource planning that can lead to transport problems (Agrawal, Singh, and Murtaza, 2015).
- Another issue that has affected the contemporary logistics network of NSW is the issue of climates and weather changes. In NSW, the climates can be very bizarre as well as unpredictable due to the fact that not only is there extreme weather in every climate, but there is also the huge possibility of natural disasters that can occur. This affects the intermodal transport system of the logistics network of NSW and moreover, it leads to damaged goods and transport carriers, reduced operational activities, and many more (Pateman, Cahoon, and Chen, 2016).
- Another big issue that has affected the contemporary logistics network of NSW is the legislative issues. Often times, issues such as disagreements on funding and budgeting, lack of compliance with transport regulations, lack of work safety, and many more can lead to bigger issues. This affects the internal and external aspects of the logistics network and causes heavy problems in the operational activities and can even render them to a state of low activities (Behrends, 2016).
Recommendation to Solve the Issues
While the issues pertaining to the contemporary logistics network of NSW have an adverse effect on the operational activities of Moorebank Intermodal Company, however, there are some suitable recommended ways to resolve the issues. These are:
- Proper Planning is a very useful and essential method through which the company would be able to avoid the issues of traffic congestions as well as toll booths. Before delivering or transporting any cargo, Moorebank Intermodal Company should try to assess the various routes that are viable options for them to deliver their cargos in an effective manner (Taniguchi, Thompson, and Yamada, 2016). Moreover, they can contact the traffic departments as well as the toll booths so that they can negotiate about the delivery or transport service. This would allow Moorebank Intermodal Company to prevent being caught up in traffic congestions and would efficiently deliver or transport their goods or cargo.
- Compliance with safety rules would be very helpful for Moorebank Intermodal Company to prevent them from being involved in accidents. While there is no way for the company to repair the damaged roads as well as issue of animal encounters in the roads, however, the freight vehicles can take safety precautions so that their goods are kept safe as well as the driving personnel are safe. This would mitigate the issues of damages that could incur to the goods and cargos (Wu et al., 2017).
- Value Relations is another great logistic management strategy that would not only help to ensure that the intermodal organization is growing, but also making choices that would be very beneficial. For Moorebank Intermodal Company, the technological issues can be effectively mitigated by updating the logistics system with upgraded technologies. For this, the investment of the right technologies is very essential as it would replace the older technologies present thereby causing an increase in operational activities and efficiency (Gunasekaran, Subramanian, and Rahman, 2015). Moreover, Value Relations would also help Moorebank Intermodal Company to mitigate the issue of lack of ERP system and help them to develop one and even provide suitable training to the employees to comply with the systems.
- While Moorebank Intermodal Company cannot change the extreme climate and weather changes, however, the company can employ vehicles that can work effectively in any climate and weather. Moreover, the inclusion of electric and hybrid vehicles for transportation would be very helpful. This would not only mitigate the generation of greenhouse gases, a major contributing factor for the extreme climate and weather changes, but it would also help to save unnecessary cost (Aljohani and Thompson, 2016).
- Compliance with the rules and regulations should be a mandatory factor for the contemporary logistics network of NSW and especially for Moorebank Intermodal Company. This would allow the parties and the stakeholders involved in the transportation process to come in terms with each other and comply with the rules and regulations for a smooth and seamless transport service (Govindan and Soleimani, 2017).
- Sustainable logistics should be adopted by Moorebank Intermodal Company in order to ensure that the complex issues, such as environmental and supply chain, associated with the movement or transport of the freight and cargo can be effectively mitigated. Sustainable logistics would allow Moorebank Intermodal Company to take suitable decisions that would not cause any adverse effects on the future generations. Moorebank Intermodal Company can adopt an effective and sustainable supply chain network that would allow the company to reduce the disbenefits or problems. This is done through the inter alia mode of redesigning, sourcing, and distribution systems that helps to nullify any inefficiencies and inconveniences in freight transport (Varsei and Polyakovskiy, 2017).
Involvement of NSW Government in Issues Resolution
The involvement of the NSW Government in Issues Resolution is essential as it would help to mitigate the issues and make things easy for the contemporary logistics network of NSW. The steps which the NSW Government can take are:
- Construction and Repairs: The NSW Government can take suitable measures to mitigate the issues of damaged land routes, roads, traffic congestions, and many more. It has been found that there are various damaged roads and routes in NSW which needs to be taken care of and repaired. Moreover, there is a lack of new routes which results in excess traffic congestion (Taniguchi, 2015). The NSW Government has the authority which would allow them to not only repair the damaged and underdeveloped roads and routes, but it would also create new routes.
- Legislation Reconstitution: The NSW Government can create rules, regulations, and laws pertaining to the legal aspects of the logistics and transport system of NSW. This would be helpful in not only creating an improved logistics and transport system in NSW, but it would also help to improve the intermodal companies and their operational activities (Hou et al., 2017).
The study has crucially analysed and evaluated the basic information about the Intermodal transport and some of the important features of Moore Intermodal Company. The study represents the structure of the Intermodal Terminal and the processes, operations and activities with issues in the transportation operations and activities of the Intermodal Company. The report shows how issues in transportation process affect the overall logistics network of an Intermodal company. From the study, it has been found that intermodal Company mainly deals with logistics networks for transportation of goods from origin point to the destination point. A number of features of Intermodal have been found during the study such as cost control, capacity control, safety and security and so on. The features have been clearly elaborated in this report. On the other hand, the issues has been found that affect the overall logistics network such as traffic congestion, under-construction roads, lack in efficient workers, out dated technologies and information systems. These issues affect a lot in the network of logistics of Moorebank Intermodal Company. The report suggests some suitable recommendations regarding the issues in logistics network to get better solutions.