Promoting modal shifts in physical distribution
"Modal shift" officially refers to the shifting of cargo to a more suitable transportation system based on the properties of the cargo. In reality, it means shifting from truck transportation to marine or railway transportation. Road transportation has been hampered by various problems in recent years, including traffic congestion, resistance to environmental deterioration due to exhaust gas, road safety issues, pressure for efficient energy use, and lack of youth entering the trucking work force. Since these problems hamper efforts to raise physical distribution efficiency and cut physical distribution costs, the need has arisen to utilize alternative means of transportation when cargo properties allow. To achieve an effective modal shift, in addition to improving the cargo carrying capacity and usability of marine and railway transportation, it is essential to ensure smooth operations at inter-modal junctions. The key is efficient cargo transfer to trucks.
Promoting inter-modal transport
Transporting cargo via two or more transportation systems is called combined transport. The phrase "inter-modal transport" adds the implication that the cargo is transferred efficiently and smoothly from one form to the next. Using multiple transportation systems typically entails a great deal of time and cost in loading and unloading cargo. Minimizing these factors is essential to physical distribution efficiency and is the goal of inter-modal transport promotion. For example, roll-on roll-off (RORO) vessels are being utilized in marine transportation, while more container cars are being introduced for railway transportation. Focused investments will be made to create the environment for easy inter-modal transfer of cargo. The promotion of palletization will also be essential for improving inter-modal transport.