Online from: 1971
Subject Area: Operations and Logistics Management
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|Title:||Modal shift for greener logistics – the shipper's perspective|
|Author(s):||Fredrik Eng-Larsson, (Department of Industrial Management and Logistics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden), Christofer Kohn, (McKinsey & Company, SCM Practice/Lund University, Stockholm, Sweden)|
|Citation:||Fredrik Eng-Larsson, Christofer Kohn, (2012) "Modal shift for greener logistics – the shipper's perspective", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 42 Iss: 1, pp.36 - 59|
|Keywords:||Green logistics, Intermodal transport, Modal shift, Rail transport, Road transport, Shipper perspective, Transportation|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/09600031211202463 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||The authors would like to thank David Kollberg who took part in the research and provided much insight throughout the process, and Professor Dr Sten Wandel for his valuable input and comments.|
Purpose – A commonly suggested measure to make logistics greener is a shift to intermodal road-rail transportation. Most research addresses the issue from the carrier's perspective, arguing for ways to improve the service production to better fit the shippers' demand. In this article the issue is addressed from the shipper's perspective. The purpose is to understand what contextual factors and operations changes that are possible and/or necessary for the shipper to make a fit to the current production system.
Design/methodology/approach – Six case companies selling non-bulk, fast moving goods are examined. These firms have gone against the mainstream and shifted modes of transport. They are investigated through a multiple case-study design.
Findings – The findings indicate that contextual factors stressed in the carrier-focused literature, or rule of thumb decisions made by shipping logistics management, do not always clearly predict the success of a modal shift. However, some common denominators emerge among successful cases: large transport purchasing resources, high general carrier performance, low demand volatility, and centralized system control. The study also poses some propositions regarding the success of a modal shift.
Research limitations/implications – The research is qualitative in nature and thus limited to the companies and their respective logistics systems. However, the models could be further evaluated empirically through quantitative and qualitative methods alike.
Practical implications – The paper poses a number of propositions of what constitutes a successful modal shift from a shipper's perspective, based on the identified factors and operational changes.
Originality/value – Previous research on the shift to intermodal road-rail solutions are predominantly made from a carrier's perspective. This research addresses the issue from the shipper's perspective.
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