Intermodal freight and container technology is quite crucial for the facilitation of trade globally. According to Rodrigue, Comtois and Slack (2006), there is growing volume of freight in different countries all over the world, which generate quite substantial quantity of wealth (194). Such trade present opportunities for economic growth to the various nations, hence the need to improve freight handling is not only crucial but also very necessary. Rodrigue et al. (2010, p.194) state, “The facilitation of trade of goods involves how the procedures regulating the international movements of goods can be improved”. Apart from factors such as integration processes, production systems and efficiency, freight handling at the transportation terminals is also very necessary for a successful trade. Rodrigue et al. (2010) further argue that competition in the global economy depends on systems of transportation and supporting service activities (p.194).
Some of the services activities that support trade, making necessary the application of technological innovation of intermodal container and freight handling include distribution based, transaction based and regulatory-based activities (p.194 – 195). Distribution based activities comprise of modes of intermodal and multimodal freight transportation system, terminals as well as infrastructure. Rodrigue et al. (2010) assert that globalization of production as well as growth in the international trade exerts a lot of pressure on transportation due to increase in freight volume, number of passengers and transportation distance.
The systems of modern transportation need high degree of competence aimed at controlling the flow of freight and passengers. Effective management of freight and passengers’ flow is not just a matter of managerial and organization matter but it requires application of technical expertise and tools as well. Hence, technology is directly related to information as well as physical component of transportation (207). Application of technology to the intermodal transportation is very important especially with regard to containerization. Intermodal container technology has made it necessary to develop containers that allow easy handling and flow of containers at transportation terminals (Rodrigue et al., 2010, p.208). Technology has been applied in the management of freight and container load units and flow. In addition, intermodal container and freight technology has been applied from different perspective such as transportation mode, distribution clusters and center, transportation terminals, e-commerce and load units.
In order to improve efficiency of flow in the transportation industry, it is important to consider seriously load units, which take different forms like containers, semitrailers, swap bodies and pallets. Containers, which are used mainly in long distance trade, have been modified well enough to reduce challenges that were once faced in the industry. Bar codes as well as radio frequency identification device (RFID) are being used to control container circulation to a very high level (p.208). Technological changes have also been effected in freight distribution centers with regard to their operation, location and design. Technological modifications of distribution center and infrastructural improvement have been very crucial in ensuring constant traffic and container and/or freight flow. Technological changes in the transportation terminal have led to establishment of new terminal facilities, which operate based on high turnover. The result is improved equipment handling thereby increasing freight velocity at transportation terminals, which has generated improved global logistics management (p.208). Application of technology in the modes of transportation, especially in the maritime shipping has made it possible to construct new class of ships and as a result, there has emerged global maritime shipping. According to United States department of transportation (2004) Intelligent Transportation System use as well as other technologies have been applied to balance security with freight transportation productivity, which has rapidly risen in the past (1).
Rodrigue, J., Comtois, C. & Slack, B. (2006). The Geography of Transport Systems. London: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
United States department of transportation. (2004). Intermodal freight technology. Web.