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FREIGHT

TRANSPORT SOCIETY AND PLANNING

MSc TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING AND


PLANNING (PT)
LECTURER: CHRIS MILLS
STUDENT: BABER BEG
STUDENT No.: 3301044
London South Bank University
School of the Built Environment and Architecture
103 Borough Road, London, SE1 0AA
www.lsbu.ac.uk

Contents
1.

INTRODUCTION................................................................................................ 3

2.

FREIGHT TRANSPORT....................................................................................... 3

3.

LOGISTICS........................................................................................................ 3

TRANSPORT PLANNING AND SOCIETY

Baber Beg
Student ID: 3301044

4.

TOWARDS THE FUTURE................................................................................... 4

5.

THE USE OF SOFTWARE................................................................................... 4

6.

CONCLUSION................................................................................................... 5

1. INTRODUCTION
Freight is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as Goods transported in bulk by truck,
train, ship, or aircraft.
In this briefing note an overview of the methodologies currently employed to
move freight throughout the UK is presented and possible improvements to
freight transportation by utilising the available distribution networks within the
UK. These can be by air, land or sea and/or any combination of these depending
on the demand by the customers.

2. FREIGHT TRANSPORT
Logistics as defined as the management of the flow of goods between the point
of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet some requirements, of
customers or corporations.i The goods can be anything from food, livestock,
materials, equipment and liquids but can also include abstract items such as
data, energy, and particles.
The logistics involved in the moving physical items is the integration of
information flow, material handling, production packaging, inventory,
transportation, and warehousing. This can be modelled and optimised by utilising
specialised software to provide real time simulations (for example the use of
Vissim to show the impacts on the road network). These help in achieving
minimal use of resources which is the norm for logistics.
In the UK all the methods air, land and sea are used where the costs can be
minimalised by the freight carrier services. For example when a customer orders
items from Amazon UK, based in Swansea. The goods heading to say London are
collated together and sent by road to depots in London closest to the postcodes
where the goods need to be delivered to the customers. They are then delivered
by the local distribution network to customers places of residence/ work.
This may seem a simple operation but careful scrutiny will show the complexity
of this task. For example if the vehicle transporting the goods were to suffer a
breakdown, or the along the route chose there was a spillage or an over-turned
vehicle or a collision. The knock on effect of this would be delays in the delivery
of the item to the destination resulting in the possible loss of a valuable
customer. There must be communication along the way as soon as the driver hits
a delay of more than say 30 minutes, he must relay this information back to the
main for them to send another vehicle via an alternative route to avoid the
delays. However, whilst this maybe possible for say electronic goods, it would
not be possible for say livestock or food. It would then be up to the freight

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transporter to relay the information to the customer. Commitments for freight


transport must be honoured to achieve customer satisfaction.

3. LOGISTICS
Modes with lower costs are utilised for long distance haulage of freight. For
example rail and river would be cheaper than by road and air. Vehicles using the
road would be using up more energy and producing a larger carbon footprint.
Another limitation would be the size of the vehicle with the load it can carry in
comparison with say a train or barge. With air freight you have the limitation of
time delays in loading and unloading the hold, then transferring the loads to a
vehicle to take to deliver to the customer.
Improvements in rail and marine infrastructure and services to provide
alternative competitive modes. For example the introduction of high speed
around the world has encouraged the movement of freight via this mode.
Satellite Navigation or Satnav system is a system of satellites that provide
autonomous geo-spatial positioning with global coverage. It allows small
electronic receivers to determine their location (longitude, latitude, and altitude)
to high precision (within a few metres) using time signals transmitted along a
line of sight by radio from satellites. The signals also allow the electronic
receivers to calculate the current local time to high precision, which allows time
synchronisation.ii This has been used extensively by road hauliers transporting
freight; the satnav providing the shortest route between origin and destination.
However, it has been known to fail on occasion although these cases are far and
few between.

4. TOWARDS THE FUTURE


The advances made in our technologies since the early 20th Century has
enabled us to be better equipped and more adaptive to change. One such
change in the UK Governments approach has been to improve the rail
infrastructure and by providing high speed rail. This will encourage a modal shift
to more people using rail when they can see the benefits provided i.e. faster
journey times, reliability of service and the fact that both passengers and freight
can be transported at the same time. The government can introduce pricing
reforms that will encourage more efficient freight transport (Kgeson and Dings
1999)iii.
Firms can increase the efficiency of their own distribution networks, becoming
more reliant on rail/ marine transport for medium and long-distances. This will
encourage the development and usage of more local suppliers thereby
encouraging regeneration within smaller communities.
The UK Government and the private sector can support research and education
programs that improve best practices in the transport of freight. Hall (2007) iv
recommends that port communities should plan to increase sustainability and
prepare for changing demands due to possible increases in future energy costs.

5. THE USE OF SOFTWARE


The most powerful tool for improving the efficiency of freight/logistics
management is new software development. IT platforms can optimise the
performance of existing infrastructure through the implementation of systems,
services, and projects designed to preserve capacity and improve security,
safety, and reliability. As has been seen with software programmes such as
PICADY, OSCADY. ARCADY, LINSIG and VISSIM.
Traffic detection and surveillances has been integrated into modern software
solutions. Traffic control and arterial management information can be provided
from a central hub across the road network and with the variable message signs
can enable drivers to avoid unnecessary traffic queues.
We have made technological advances to enable us to predict weather
conditions so we can be prepared. However, last year with the rains we were
unprepared for the flooding that occurred due to the short-sightedness of
politicians.
Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) are advanced applications which, without
embodying intelligence as such, aim to provide innovative services relating to
different modes of transport and traffic management and enable various users to
be better informed and make safer, more coordinated, and 'smarter' use of
transport networks.v

6. CONCLUSION
Freight transportation requires logistics to improvement its efficiency. The advent
of advanced software programmes has greatly aided the advances made in this
field. There is no doubt that freight management is a complicated task with so
many intricate interconnecting parts. We need to be able to review the parts
together to see which one fit the problem we are modelling and determine the
best solutions which can provide the best valued benefits to the supplier, the
freight companies and customer.

REFERENCES

i http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logistics

ii http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_navigation

iii Per Kgeson and Jos Dings (1999), Electronic Kilometre Charging for Heavy Goods Vehicles in
Europe, European Federation for Transport and Environment (www.t-e.nu).

iv Peter V. Hall (2007), Seaports, Urban Sustainability, and Paradigm Shift, Journal of Urban
Technology (www.tandf.co.uk), Vol. 14, No. 2, August 2007, pp. 87-101.

v http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_transportation_system