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Managing intermodal hinterland networks

Concise summary of this Operations Practice
The hinterland is the inland region in connection with a port. Compared with the full distance traveled by a container from origin to destination, the distance
covered in the hinterland is typically relatively small. However, this part is increasingly recognized as a key part of the overall container transportation chain,
as the proportion of hinterland costs relative to the total container transportation costs ranges from 40% to 80%. In this Operations Practice, a series of new
managerial insights is proposed for the management of intermodal hinterland networks at the container level. Furthermore, the study takes a look at the cargo
inside the container, by examining the feasibility of on-dock transloading and cross-docking. The main results can be summarized as follows:

• Intermodal transportation projects are viable for short and medium distances if the volume is big and the origin/destination drayage distances are low.
• Shippers should request quotes that depend on the volume shipped from intermodal service companies and inland terminals.
• Coordination may be critical for successfully implementing an intermodal hinterland network even if the value of such coordination may be quite low.
• About 10% of the dry containers imported via the port of Rotterdam apply for transloading and the average saving per 40-foot container would be about € 20.
• On-dock transloading and cross-docking is of limited interest for fresh and frozen products with the current logistical settings in the Netherlands.

Relevant for
Companies that import or export goods using containers, terminal operators, third party logistics providers, companies providing intermodal services, port authorities.

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Target industry sector

  • Process industry (chemical and other)
  • Pharmaceutical industry / Health Care
  • Capital goods industry, especially service parts logistics
  • Retail & Internet / E-commerce
  • Consumer packaged goods
  • Mass assembly
  • High-tech (consumer electronics, semiconductors, contract manufacturing, communications)
  • Logistics service providers



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