Contributions of Air Cargo to Today's and Future Intermodal Freight Transport

Author: Christopher Vrydag



This project contains a literature research about the theme cargo chains for different transport modes and the contribution of air cargo transport in those general cargo chains. Through comprehension and description of the today’s cargo chains, the compatibility between the different transport modes will be checked in order to investigate and suggest possible evolutions towards the future cargo chains.

First of all, the aspects of a general cargo chain for all transport modes were described. The project focuses on how an ideal cargo chain should work and the sequence of the different stages from input till output. By describing separately air, road, rail and sea transport modes, congregation between air and the intermodal transport modes have been researched. After this general description the air cargo chain has been taken under the magnifying glass. The research is especially deepened into advantages and drawbacks of the combination between the air transport mode and intermodal transport modes in the general cargo chain, as the functionality of standardisation in the whole process.

Subsequently a survey has been made of different transport devices used in all transport modes with a more detailed look to the one’s used in air freight transport in order to result in a classification of three types of transport devices. Side activities, such as loading and unloading and other cargo handling activities in air cargo transport were briefly mentioned along this project.

Finally after describing factors influencing air cargo transport, the actual cargo chain is able to be optimized in order to have a more efficient cargo transport in the future and finally a reduction of costs, and a gain in time can be achieved. Some developments and evolutions, such as centralisation, multimodality, etc. are substantiated by several actual examples.