The Intermodal Chain Competitiveness for the Transport of Spanish SME Production

The Intermodal Chain Competitiveness for the Transport of Spanish SME Production


A Martínez López, R Rios Prado, V Diaz Casas, A Munin Doce, Universidade da Coruña, ES


2.-Transport needs for Spanish expected loaders
3.-Competitiveness of multimodal transport versus road transport
4.-Legislative framework


Key words: Sea Motorways, maritime route selection, European transport policy, freight and logistics, traffic and transport.
In the last years European transport policy has considered as its main objective to address the traffic transfer from road to the sea through intermodal chains. For this reason projects as Short Sea Shipping or Sea Motorways were developed by the European Union (E.U.). With them the E. U. tries to introduce within the multimodal chains maritime short routes that offer high frequency transport services. The expected result was a less pollutant and cheaper mode of transport.
The effects of economy of scale in long distance maritime transport are well known however they are not relevant in short distances. For this reason a lot of shipping companies were reticent to cover this kind of traffic. On the other hand, the loader customers were traditionally very large companies with international activity, large export volumes and many years of activity in the market. These companies sought the effects of economy of scale in the transport provided by maritime transport.
This work shows through an analysis of export business data that, the export company profile is changing, in fact, SMEs are becoming very important in the total number of export companies in Europe and in Spain. These companies present different transport needs than large companies. In addition, the maritime trade rules have recently changed in the E.U and nowadays the principles of free competition are applicable to all maritime transport. This makes the shipping companies more interested in reducing costs with optimized vessels and in offering new services.
The main goal of this study is to determine the necessary features of multimodal transport between Spain and France to improve its competitiveness versus road transport. For this the loader will be considered as the decision maker. To achieve this main goal, the study has been carried out in different steps which try to achieve partial objectives, thus:
? In a first step of the study, the transport needs of loaders are identified by means of the analysis of data on Spanish companies with international activity. As results from this first part France is shown to be the country with the most important trade relationship with Spain and the companies with the highest expectations of trade between both countries are the SMEs.
? In a second step, some maritime routes are selected between both countries to assure the highest competitiveness of multimodal transport versus road transport. For this, a comparison between all the alternatives in time and cost will be carried out.
? In the last step, the normative framework in the E.U. is considered to determine the operational conditions in vessels to take advantage of the special situation of maritime transport between countries of the E.U. The intermodal chain will turn out as the best solution versus road transport according to this normative and competitiveness.
A decision model of the transport mode has been applied though decision groups to achieve the searched goals. These groups take into account different aspects of transport which are evaluated by the decision maker.
Finally, different conclusions are extracted from this study, some of them are static restrictions from the frame work, others change with time and other conclusions can be controllable according to the goal sought.


Association for European Transport