A carrier’s perspective on container network configuration at sea and on land
Published Online: Jun 30, 2004
This paper deals with network configurations in liner shipping and inland transportation from a carrier’s perspective. The cost efficiency of different possible network configurations in the foreland-hinterland continuum is discussed based on a cost model and on a qualitative analysis. It is demonstrated that the tendency towards cargo concentration in a limited number of ports has led to the redesign of collection and distribution networks in the hinterland. Further cargo bundling in the foreland-hinterland continuum towards even fewer ports and inland centres is only interesting from a cost perspective if considerable economies of scale and density can be realised in the associated hinterland networks. The more cost efficient the network becomes, the less convenient that network could be for the shippers’ needs in terms of frequency and flexibility. As such, the future configuration of liner shipping networks and inland transport networks will largely depend on the balance of power between carriers and shippers.