By Eugene C. Bonacci, Management & Transportation Associates, Inc.
If we are to continue to refine our transportation systems, we must move to the next level of effectiveness and efficiency, Integrated Transportation (IT). Integrated Transportation is defined as the best possible way to seamlessly perform any given transportation function, totally integrating all modes of transportation most effectively and efficiently, eliminating “useless work,” into one single universe of operations. Useless work is defined as that work which is not necessary to perform the function of a transportation process transaction to perfection. When the transportation function is performed in a totally integrated transportation system, a tremendous amount of useless (redundant) work and, in some cases, entire transactions are eliminated in each participating mode. In this process, all alternatives must be examined in order to determine the best possible solution.
At the present time we are engaged in Intermodal Transportation that is a transportation transaction, utilizing various modes of transportation. However, Inter-modal Transportation does not address the elimination of useless work (unnecessary transportation transaction elements) in performing the transportation function. An inter-modal transportation transaction does not totally integrate the various modes utilized in the transaction, but only uses them independently where it is cost and service effective.
An example of IT is totally integrating the universe of water transportation operations with trucking ground transportation operations, eliminating all useless work in the process, to most effectively and efficiently perform the given transportation function. Domestic trucking company trailers (53?) only (not tractors) are rolled on the vessel at the origin port and rolled off the vessel at the destination port (ro/ro). Management & Transportation Associates, Inc. (MTA), in conjunction with Seaworthy Systems, Inc., has developed cost effective vessel design and loading/unloading technology that allows for the total integration of the technical side of the land-sea operations. In addition, the vessel speeds have been designed to provide scheduling for total integration with the trucking land operations so that the land/water/land operation in specific traffic lanes is service competitive with the land only (trucking) operation. Total door-to door transportation costs have been significantly reduced, utilizing water transportation, without adversely affecting customer service in these traffic lanes. Specifically, MTA has identified W-95 (Water-95) traffic lanes on the East coast I-95 corridor that are much lower in cost than trucks and with service competitive with trucks. Other traffic lanes, utilizing water transportation, are also under study by MTA.
Hub terminals
Truckers could use the port terminals as hub terminals for their operations, eliminating the over-the-road segment of the trip provided by water transportation. These hub terminals would operate as load exchange points to integrate the water transportation loads with the trucking company?s other loads to and from the geographic area, minimizing system empty miles.
With the shortage of truck drivers, especially those willing to make long trips, requiring them to be away from home for long periods; highway congestion; high insurance costs, especially in congested areas; lack of availability of capital for equipment; high equipment capital costs; increasing tolls; environmental (air pollution) and Homeland and National Security Defense concerns; inadequate highway infrastructure to handle increasing traffic volumes; etc., utilizing water transportation as purchased transportation by trucking companies becomes a more viable alternative. The same equipment capital investment by a trucking company could result in increased revenues or reduced equipment capital investment could result in the same revenues currently being generated, resulting in dramatically improving its Return On Investment (R