Access management for road hauliers and rail operators in intermodal freight terminals
Abstract: A pivotal element in the transport industry, intermodal freight transport, is rather complex due to the numerous transport modes and actors involved. Terminal operators in intermodal freight transport face major challenges to provide seamless flows of containers via their terminals. Seamless flows are achievable by bridging gaps between large-scale transport operators (e.g. shipping lines) and small-scale transport operators (e.g. road hauliers and rail operators). Effective access processes can not only bridge those gaps but also contribute to decreasing turnaround times for trucks and trains. By applying the access processes, small-scale transport operators can receive access to specific resources in terminals. An effective access process can be achieved when transport resources (e.g. trucks and truck drivers) can be managed together with terminal resources (e.g. straddle carriers and straddle carrier drivers). In this thesis, such management is termed access management, defined as managing the process by which actors access resources at terminals. Guided by that concept, the thesis seeks to increase the understanding of how access management for road hauliers and rail operators in intermodal freight terminals can contribute to decreasing turnaround times for trucks and trains. The thesis is a compilation of five papers reporting studies that involved literature reviews, interviews, focus groups, participant observations and time measurements. Whereas the literature reviews focused on the topics of access management and information exchange, the collected data were analysed by implementing several analytical frameworks developed for the thesis. The results of using those frameworks clarified how effective access to resources at intermodal freight terminals can be managed, especially by explaining four dynamics: (1) how different information services can contribute to decreasing turnaround times for trucks and trains, (2) how those services can affect activity performance and resource utilisation, (3) how the required and most relevant attributes of information can be exchanged in real time among actors involved and (4) how and when such attributes need to be automatically collected and exchanged. Following from those results, the chief finding is that terminal operators can effectively manage transport and terminal processes, as well as decrease turnaround for trucks and trains, by using access management services that allow exchanging information in real time. From the empirical findings of the studies conducted, six propositions are formulated and justified.
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