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TRENDS IN INTERMODAL FREIGHT TRANSPORT Today intermodal is often associated with a variety of transportation activities and is often used

to refer many of the important overall advances in freight transportation and logistics of recent years. Freight transportation is a joint enterprise of the private sector and government. Private firms provide nearly all the direct service to shippers and own transportation equipments and some portions of the infrastructure. The government provides major infrastructure components like ports and harbors, airports and airways, and inland waterways. The transportation industry is rapidly changing due to technological advances and search for faster and cheaper ways to transport freight across the globe. Intermodal freight transport is a system for transporting goods, particularly over longer distances and across international borders, which uses a combination of two or more individual modes, such as road haulage and rail freight, or road haulage and inland waterway barge, to achieve the most economic, efficient and environmentally-friendly delivery of loads to their destination. RailRail- Intermodal rail technology has changed rapidly especially in the areas of automation and flat car equipment. Most advances have been incremental changes to existing technologies. Articulated cars represent the type of technology. Articulated cars are light in weight, have lower purchase prices, are less expensive to maintain, and prevent cargo damage by eliminating most slack action and roll dynamics between cars.

The government and rail industry are developing Intelligent railroad System that will incorporate evolving information into train operations and maintenance. Some of them are client service system and a train control and dispatching system. Other developments are Nationwide Differential Global Positioning System (NDGPS), Positive Train Control (PTC), electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes, automatic equipment identification tags for all equipments, way side equipment sensors to identify defects on passing trains, and intelligent grade crossings to reduce grade crossing collisions. Motor Carriers Most of the advances in this mode are in fuel efficient factors and lighter and stronger trailers with increased cargo capacity. Also the commercial vehicle operations(CVO) initiative, which is a part of the intelligent Transportation system is expected to improve administrative efficiency, highway data collection, safety and reduce operating costs to commercial vehicles. AviationAviation continues to expand its role in intermodal freight transportation in shipment of high value and time sensitive cargo. Large aircrafts like Boeing 747-400 freighter and MD-11 and now Russias Antonov-124, can accommodate 20 and 40 foot international organization for standardization (ISO) ocean containers. However until lighter and stronger sea air containers are developed and used, the additional handling cost of transferring cargos

between the heavier ISO ocean containers and the ISO air containers will continue to be more costly than all ocean service. To accommodate this growth and enhance safety the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is engaged in a comprehensive program to modernize Air Traffic (ATS) Control System. This includes replacing radar surveillance systems, modernizing voice communication systems introducing enhanced automated navigation aids, data links, and improved weather systems. Water ways Todays containers vessels have 50 % more cargo capacity than those of 1975 and some are triple the size. An 8000 twenty foot equivalent unit (TEU) ship was developed in 1997 and 13000 TEU ship design is currently being studied. When these ships were produced in 1970s, they required many waterways and ports to be deepened to accommodate the increasing drafts of these vessels Equipment Containers, also known as intermodal containers or as ISO containers because the dimensions have been defined by the ISO, are the main type of equipment used in intermodal transport, particularly when one of the modes of transportation is by ship. Containers are eight feet (2438 mm) wide by eight feet (2438 mm) high. Since introduction, there have been moves to adopt other heights, such as eight feet six inches (2591 mm), nine feet six inches (2896 mm) and ten feet six inches (3200 mm). The most common lengths are 20 feet (6096 mm) nominal or 19 feet - 10 in (6058 mm) actual, 40 feet (12192 mm), 48 feet (14630 mm) and 53 feet (16154 mm), although other lengths exist. They are made out of steel and can be stacked on top of each other (a popular term for a two-high stack is "double stack"). On ships they are typically stacked up to seven units high. They can be carried by truck, rail, container ship, or aero plane. When carried by rail, containers can be loaded on flatcars or in container well cars. In Europe, stricter railway height restrictions (smaller loading gauge and structure gauge) prohibit containers from being stacked two high, and containers are hauled one high either on standard flatcars or other railroad cars. Open-topped versions covered by a fabric curtain are used to transport larger loads. A container called a tanktainer, consisting of a tank fitted inside a standard container frame, allows liquids to be carried. Refrigerated containers are used for perishables. There is also the swap body, which is typically used for road and rail transport, as they are built too lightly to be stacked. They have folding legs under their frame so that they can be moved between trucks without using a crane. INTERRELATIONSHIPS OF INTERMEDIARIES While the intermodal industry has experienced strong growth over much of the last two decades, the industry has had a number of service problems that may prevent predicted growth from occurring. Many of these service problems relate to the structure of the intermodal industry and conflict between the intermediaries. This conflict has prevented the close coordination and communications needed to optimize efficiency within the industry. The industry is structured around each individual mode of transportation and because of intermodal transfers often require the coordination of government entities and multiple private entities, physical and organizational bottlenecks sometimes develop the affect the performance of the entire freight system.

Conflict between the intermediaries, who in the past have functioned predominantly within their own respective mode, has impeded the formation of mechanisms to coordinate access to intermodal equipment, facilities, and the flow of information between modes during intermodal operations TECHNOLOGIES IN INTERMODAL FREIGHT MANAGEMENT Developments in advanced technologies have been the greatest factor which influenced changes in intermodal freight transportation. Some of the advanced technologies which have thoroughly transformed the nations transportation system are information technology used in freight transportation system. Information TechnologyInformation technology plays an important part in intermodal freight transport. IT has enabled its users to plan, track audit and document intermodal shipments in real time. Intermodal freight movement is increasingly become mode invisible as the ability to interconnect and interchange information among the modes is optimized. The Transportation efficiency act for the 21st century focused on maturing information technologies and their development. The U.S department of Transportation (DOT) created the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) architecture and drafting of related standards. ITS represents the application of advanced technologies involving information processing, electronics and communications, and management strategies, to improve intermodal transportation system. DOT was required to develop intermodal transportation data base (ITDB). The ITDB provides a single data mining portal from all the Bureau of transportation statistics (BTS) and DOT operating units. The website www.bts.gov will provide analysts and the public with transportation safety, demographics, travel, and economic statistics. As companies connect, the growing use of internet and the trends in electronic commerce appear to be improving the visibility of inventory and its location within supply chains. VEHICLE AND CARGO TRACKING TECHNOLOGIES Cargo Tracking Technologies include Bar Code with Laser Read out, Magnetic Card and Strip Reader, Smart Cards, Radio Frequency Cards, Transponders and Readers. Vehicle Tracking Technologies mainly employ the use of the positional information from the Global Position System (GPS) which provides real-time tracking of the vehicle and cargo

BETTER INTERMODAL FLEET MANAGEMENT THROUGH TRACKING AND LOGISTICS Radiolocation or Navigational Systems have emerged with well-developed cellular or communication channels. This combines Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) with paging, voice and data communication to a national or regional dispatch and logistics node. ELECTRONIC DATA INTERCHANGE (EDI)

EDI, systems take information from all available sources and make decisions and performs controls to maximize efficiency. EDI systems can minimize unnecessary paperwork by providing facility to perform transactions on-line. EMERGING AND FUTURE TRENDS FOR INTERMODAL FREIGHT AND FLEET MANAGEMENT OPERATIONS INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM (ITS) Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) is a system that improves transportation safety and mobility and enhances productivity through the use of advanced communications technologies. Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) encompass a broad range of wireless and wire line communications-based information and electronics technologies. When integrated into the transportation system's infrastructure, and in vehicles themselves, these technologies relieve congestion, improve safety and enhance productivity. ITS is one of the major emerging Intermodal Freight and Fleet Management Operations technology. ITS offers the following benefits: Increase of operational efficiency and capacity of the transportation system. Enhancement of personal mobility, convenience, and comfort. Improvement of safety of the transportation system. Reduction of energy consumption and environmental costs. Enhancement of the present and future economic productivity of individuals, organizations and the economy as a whole Vehicle information, Intermodal Freight Depot information and Intermodal Freight Shipper Information is continuously available with the Fleet and Freight Management System (ITS). Driver can request data and status information from the Fleet and Freight Management System (ITS). Automated updates about traffic, weather, or schedule updates are provided via messages or alerts to the driver from the Fleet and Freight Management System (ITS). INTERMODAL CONTAINER TECHNOLOGIES Along with the development of the transportation systems there is also a need for the standardization and modularization of container design. Not only is the container size increasing but also the design is evolving to make containers stackable, roll able and solid able onto freight carriers like ships, trucks, etc. Recent innovations have included the use of advanced materials for higher capacity, lower weight, better performance and life. Other innovations have incorporated various electronic and mechanical design changes for transportation of different kinds of goods. Examples: Refrigeration for perishable goods, thermal protection, climate control, etc. Since 1984, a mechanism for intermodal shipping known as double-stack rail transport has become increasingly common. Rising to the rate of nearly 70% of intermodal shipments, it transports more than one million containers per year. The double-stack rail cars unique design also significantly reduced damage in transit, and provided greater cargo security by cradling the lower containers so their doors cannot be opened. And a succession of large, new domestic container sizes was introduced to further enhance shipping productivity for customers. As early

as the 1970s, double stack designs and equipment were introduced, but the cars were heavy and uneconomical to operate. A common standard for containers would help ports to have standardized equipment resulting in streamline of the transfer processes. It exploits technologies like tracking, control and communication to form integrated carriers like FedEx. ADVANCED CONTROL AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES Technologies have been integrated with real-time control and logistics decision-making software; this approach is becoming widely adopted by trucking firms and distribution service providers. This concept has produced successful organizations like Fed-Ex, DHL, UPS etc. Technology-based improvements such as real-time grade crossing supervision and warning systems, supervisory control distributed networks; solid-state interlocking controls will enhance railroad safety operational efficiency. CONCLUSION Intermodal Freight and Fleet Management Operation is the future of the transportation that promises a seamless intermodal transportation system that is efficient, safe, flexible, and environmentally sound, and meets the needs of the travelers and industry alike. There are several important reasons why governments need to be actively involved in advanced Intermodal freight transportation. The availability of quality-focused, cost-effective intermodal freight transportation services can affect how well the firms in a region can compete economically in the battlefield of regional and global economic competition. Thus, jobs, incomes, and growth all depend significantly on logistics capabilities. Governments have an interest in promoting inter-modal freight transportation expertise: in stimulating the development of up to date intermodal freight transportation services providers; and in reducing regulatory and other barriers to the ability of providers to offer attractive services. Intermodal freight transportation services and the fees paid by service providers for facilities, transportation, and information services, and taxes can be important sources of revenues to governments. Actions in the intermodal freight transportation domain can have important environmental, health, and safety consequences and these are important concerns of governments. Often, governments are the major providers of transportation infrastructure that supports the provision of inter-modal freight transportation services, such as air and ocean cargo facilities, intermodal transfer terminals, and others. For some modes, the levels of congestion and delays in transportation and terminals are an important issue. Therefore, governments are actively involved in planning, investment, pricing, and/or operational decisions that influence the provision of capacity and the pricing and time dependent availability of facilities and services. Often, the logistics services sector is a sector with many small and medium-sized enterprises. In many countries, governments are concerned with viability and survival of such enterprises, and want to ensure this survival through providing awareness programs, educational and resourceexpansion export. Although freight transportation has benefited from improvements in information and equipment technologies over the past years, the progress linking the evolving information and transportation

systems has been slowed by lack of network infrastructure, and lack of expertise in some sectors that participate in the freight transportation system.