Q.1 How can the use of transport
planning and routing software packages such as Route Optimiser help transport
companies to model and improve their operations? Areas to consider could
include fleet profile, number of depots, vehicle fill etc.
1.1 WHAT IS TRANSPORT PLANNING?
refers to the planning needed in the operation, allocation and management of
facilities and services for the modes of transport faster, convenient,
economical, and environmental friendly movement of goods and services.it is the
estimation of all the possible travel demand and all the required services and
facilities needed to fulfil that demand. (www.economictimes.com)
1.2 ROUTING SOFTWARE PACKAGES-
These software’s are used for the purpose of reducing costs
and improving operational costs along with various other advantages for its
users. (paragon) these software’s can be used by all sizes of business for
their transport route planning.
Examples of routing software packages-
routing and scheduling software
optimiser software is used for daily route scheduling, optimisation and
controlled transport planning and real-time fleet management for variety of
businesses and services across the globe.
for the live case scenario was to use and see the route optimiser software and
experience how transport planning is done through the use of a computer. For
this, the class was assigned individual systems, each one having its own access
to the software for transport planning. The purpose was to create the most
efficient route keeping in mind areas such as fleet profile, vehicle fill and
number of depots.
profile refers to the kind of vehicle size, type and mix which, a business owns
for the purpose of transportation of good and services.
using the route optimiser software I did change the fleet profile many times,
there were three different kind of vehicles (7.5T-van, 12t 17t) used for
movement of goods. The optimisation of vehicle fleet affects the costs and
profitability of the whole movement drastically. When I tried to keep the mix
of all vehicles, the costs increased because of the 17t vehicles as they cannot
access the cities directly, they need a 7.5t-van to support them in moving the
goods across the city which in turn increases the cost and reduces the
profitability whereas when I eliminated the 17t truck from the vehicle fleet
and created a mix of 7.5t-vans and 12ft truck, the result was positive as the
costs of movement of goods went down along with increase in profits. This was
achieved as route optimiser was able to create a route where delivery using
this mix of vehicle fleet have access to easy movement of goods in to the city.
The optimisation of vehicle fleet can work in either ways, depending upon the
vehicle fleet you create as per your needs. In my case the optimisation was
positive and it did improve the profitability.
utilization of the storage available in vehicles has always been a matter of
concern and debate for businesses, they always have a hard time utilising the
full storage capacity of the delivery vehicle as usually when a vehicle filled
with goods goes out for delivery to a place, it comes back empty but with a
cost of fuel, driver etc.
using the route optimiser software I learned that the above problem can be
solved by businesses if they plan delivery routes in such a way that the
delivery vehicle either comes back with their supplies or deliver in such a
manner that their last delivery is near to their depot. The software helped me
in planning more full loads as the routes and scheduling of vehicles was efficient.
of hours in which vehicles operate plays a major role in the whole delivery
process and businesses often faces the problem of underutilization of the time
as a driver can only drive 9 hours a day in a week. Thus, forcing the
businesses to use 1 vehicle per delivery in case if there was only one order
for a delivery far from the depot in many cases. The software helped me in
routing and scheduling the delivery of vehicles in such a way that I was able
to plan multiple deliveries on 1 vehicle instead of 1 delivery on 1 vehicle.
This was achieved as I was able to increase the number of shifts of drivers
which in return increases the number of hours for delivery vehicles in which
they operate, up to 24 hours.
of operating delivery vehicles can affect the profitability of a business
drastically. While using the software I have learned that the cost and
profitability of the business depends upon the volume of the business as if the
business has a good amount of volume then it can absorb the added costs arising
from the operating costs of the delivery vehicles easily which will increase
the profitability of the business along with reduction in overall operating
costs on the other hand if the business is on low volume then the added operating
costs like driver fee, fuel cost etc. will decrease the profitability of the
business along with an increase in operating costs for the delivery vehicles.
planning full loads of delivery on one truck on the same route instead of only
one load of delivery on one truck, the software helped me in understanding that
full loads can reduce the number of vehicles needed for delivery along with
reducing the number of miles that a vehicle runs as the software creates such
routes that is short in miles and schedules in a way that only one truck is
able to do multiple deliveries efficiently. Thus, also reducing the fuel costs
as the number of vehicles making the delivery reduces and the fuel consumption
also decreases to an extent.
2.3 NUMBER OF DEPOTS-
I wouldn’t focus too much on the
definition of transport planning. I like to see lots of practical examples….
Why don’t you have a look online and see
if you can find any case studies ? Paragon, Microlise and PTV group are all
companies that provide planning and routing software.
Try to find the “Hoggs Back brewery”
video on U Tube, or New Look and Microlise….
TABLE OF CONTENTS-
What are the advantages and disadvantages of carrying freight by rail? Provide
two examples where companies have transferred the movement of freight from road
to rail. What were the main drivers for change and how successful have they
this assignment, the advantages of carrying freight by rail are critically
evaluated. Additionally, this assignment also discusses the disadvantages of
carrying rail freight. The two examples where companies have transferred the
movement of freight by rail to road are also determined in this assignment.
Moreover, the main drivers for change and how successful have they been, being
ADVANTAGES OF CARRYING FREIGHT BY
LARGE UNIFORM LOADS OVER LONG
Railways is used for large uniform loads over long distance
as it economical, quicker in
terms of speed and best suited for long distances. (intermodal book)
For Example- For every 100-tonne km that coal is transported
in Britain, 79% is undertaken by railway along with many other commodities.
HIGH SPEED AND SAFER-
It’s speed over long distances is more than any
other mode of transport, except airways. Thus, it is the best choice for long
distance traffic as well. Railway is the safest
form of transport as the chances of accidents and breakdowns of railways are
minimum as compared to other modes of transport. Moreover, the traffic can be
protected from the exposure to sun, rains, snow etc. (class notes)
Over the years railway has proven to be the most reliable
mode of transport due to its on-time arrival along with other benefits like
security of freight in transit, a lower level of accidents etc. (class notes)
For example- The moving annual
average for punctuality on the UK’s railways was 91.6% for the 13 periods to 7
January 2012. This is a composite statistic across passenger and all types of
freight and infrastructure trains. (www.freightarranger.com)
Trains are considered one of the most energy-efficient means
for transportation. To transportation one passenger one kilometre, a car needs
twice to five times the energy by a train. This average increase from four to
eight times in the case of an aircraft. (class notes)
LESS AFFECTED BY WEATHER-
Railway is prone to weather to an extent where it is least
affected by weather as compared to other modes of transport as rail tracks
usually doesn’t work only in the case of extreme weather conditions.
DISADVANTAGES OF CARRYING FREIGHT BY
BIG INVESTMENT OUTLAY-
The railway requires a large
investment of capital as the cost of construction, maintenance and overhead
expenses are very high as compared to other modes of transport. Moreover, the
investments are specific and immobile. In case the traffic is not sufficient,
the investments may mean wastage of huge resources. (class notes)
For example- In the current
five-year plan the cost of enhancing and maintaining the railways has a budget
of 15 billion GGP. (www.ft.com)
The more you bring in competition, the more you
can be confident of working in the most efficient way. (mark carne, railway
network chief). but the reality is opposite as the market has very few players
due to the conditions involved in this market.
Rail transport cannot provide door to door
service as it is tied to a particular track. Intermediate loading or unloading
involves greater cost, more wear and tear and wastage of time.
railways only work in an intermodal setup where road transport is used
to provide door to door service.
ROUTES AND FIXED TIMING
Another disadvantage of railway transport is its
inflexibility. Its routes and timings cannot be adjusted to individual
Thus, making it less flexible in terms of
different modes of transports.
For example- From London to Edinburgh, virgin
east coast has the license to run 30 trains but due to limited routes and fixed
timings, first group has been granted a license to run only 5 trains a day,
calling at Newcastle(www.telegraph.co.uk).
Because of huge capital requirements and traffic,
railways cannot be operated economically in rural areas. Thus, large rural
areas have no railway service even today. This causes much inconvenience to the
people living in rural areas.
EXAMPLES OF TRANSFER OF MOVEMENT FROM ROAD RAILWAY –
Asda is a British super market retailer, headquartered in
Leeds, west Yorkshire. It is the second largest supermarket retailer which
focuses on selling food, clothing, electronics, toys, home furnishings and
general merchandise. Also, it is a subsidiary of Walmart, the largest super
market chain in the world. (www.asda.com)
Prior to 2001, Asda was mainly using road transport for the
movement of all the goods from its centres to the supermarkets all over the
United Kingdom, but then they realized that they should change their movement
of freight from road to rail.
Asda, which started using rail in 2001,
is in partnership with the Malcolm Group providing a daily service connecting
the Asda National Distribution Centre at Magna Park to the Asda RDC in
Grangemouth, a distance of 550 km. Asda uses Malcom’s services once a day,
which currently runs six days a week and can take a minimum of 13 containers
each night including general merchandise, clothing and food to the Grangemouth
freight depot, which is only 500 yards from Asda’s depot. (heraldscotland.com)
The rail haulage for this flow is provided by DB
Schenker Rail (UK) Limited as part of their operating contract with the Malcolm
Group. Magna Park is 15 km away from the Daventry International Rail Freight
Terminal, and the Grangemouth RDC is about 2 km from the destination terminal.
Tesco was founded in 1919 by jack cohen from a market stall in
London’s east end. Today it is one of the largest retailers in the world.
Tesco’s core business is retailing in the UK, which provides 60% of all sales
and profit. Tesco has the widest range of food of any retailer in the UK.
to 2006, Tesco was heavily dependent on road transport for the movement of
goods which made them prone to high carbon emissions and high costs.
Tesco, after 2006 working in partnership, DRS and Stobart
Rail combined their very best road and rail capabilities to create a tailor-made solution
to meet Tesco’s requirements. The end result of this was a service which
is providing highly efficient distribution across the UK from Tesco’s
Since, switching to an intermodal delivery solution it has
saved an estimated 26,000,000 lorry miles every year, with a correspondingly
dramatic reduction in CO2, as the full range of intermodal services come on
line. On average, each rail journey takes 77 heavy goods vehicles off the
UK’s already congested roads. This results in dramatic fuel savings and can
reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80% depending on the route. (www.stobartrail.com)
currently has four dedicated rail services, which it estimates saves around
15,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year by removing the need for 14 million
miles of road journeys.
latest initiative is that it has partnered with local businesses to run a new
rail freight service in Wales six days a week transporting ‘swap-body’
containers, which are delivered to the rail freight depots by lorry and simply
lifted between lorry and train. The trains travel between Magor and Daventry,
where Tesco has its main rail-connected UK distribution centre.
return trip also provides opportunities for South Wales businesses to transport
their own freight by rail at a reduced rate, further driving down emissions and
congestion and making the route more cost effective. (supplychaindigital.com)
initiative is part of Tesco’s plan to
become a “carbon neutral” organisation by 2050 and it comes
days after it was named the top UK retailer
for carbon reporting for the fourth year in a row by the Carbon Disclosure
Project. The freight
project is the latest in a series of investments designed to curb carbon
emissions and operating costs. For example, last month, Tesco opened a store
almost entirely lit by LED lights saving an estimated 30 per cent on its energy
bills compared to a standard supermarket, and has also used electric vans for
customer deliveries as well as barges to transport wine along the
Manchester Ship Canal from Liverpool to Manchester. (www.tescoplc.com)
MAIN DRIVERS BEHIND THE CHANGE AND HOW SUCESSFUL THEY WERE-
5.1 COST EFECTIVE-
Moving goods by rail is increasingly becoming the
most-effective way of transporting freight. Rail haulage is more fuel efficient
than the road haulage. Less fuel is needed to transport a tonne of goods by
rail than by road, saving both money and greenhouse emissions.
The super markets were able to cut its costs down as they
reckon that they have saved many million road miles each year which has brought
down their costs of fuel, manpower and training of drivers drastically.
Asda was able to successfully save 5 million road miles each
year which has led reduce the cost of transportation whereas Tesco have been able
to save 14 million road miles every year, thus reducing the cost of
transportation drastically. (www.networkrail.co.uk)
5.2 THE ENVIRONMENT-
Rail freight has a vital role to play in
tackling climate change and helping
the government meet that commitment.
Over the years pollution has become one of the major problems in the UK
and the main drivers are usually the modes of transports which emits huge
amount of carbon emission in the environment. Thus, in order to reduce the
pollution supermarkets has successfully opted railways for their respective
example- Tesco has a train which travels between Magor and Daventry, where
Tesco has its main rail-connected UK distribution centre, each journey is
estimated to take up to 40 lorries off the road, thereby reducing congestion
and cutting emissions by an estimated 60 percent. HGVs typically produce 63g of
CO2 for every tonne of freight transported per kilometre, which drops to just
over 26g CO2 for rail freight. Aiming to become ‘Carbon Neutral’ by 2050, Tesco
also has four dedicated rail services through which they save 15,000 tonnes per
year of CO² equivalent per year whereas asda was also able to reduce its carbon
emissions and congestions on road significantly through the use of railways
The ability to rely on goods and materials being delivered on
time is critical to businesses. Road freight is frequently deployed by
congestion. Every year thousands of hours are lost due to congestion on
Britain’s roads and over a quarter of all road freight journeys are delayed.
Analysis by the department for transport fount that congestion was the biggest
external cost imposed by road freight. (www.gov.uk) Rail provides a disciplined
network in terms of planning and management with sophisticated timetabling and
signalling systems designed to optimise reliability. Thus, the more the
congestion is reduced by shifting freight from road to rail, the better in
terms of reliability for businesses.
The Stobart trains punctuality for Tesco has been phenomenal as
more than eight out of every train completes their journey on time which gives
an average of more than 97% whereas per the manager of transport development
manager of Asda, Malcolm’s train service arrives within 30 minutes of their
scheduled arrival cases, a much higher rate than moving loads by road.
5.4 ROAD CONGESTION-
Rail freight plays an important role in reducing the number of
lorries and congestion on the nation’s roads. Due to the greater capability of
rail, each freight train can typically replace around 50 Heavy good vehicles
For example- Both Tesco and Asda were able to reduce road
congestion by a large amount by shifting the freight movement from road to
rail, thus they reduced the number of lorries by thousands to avoid road
congestions on major routes.
5.5 Efficiency in business-
Railways improves the efficiency of freight transport movement
significantly. On time deliveries of goods and services, reduced costs and ease
in distribution networks are the key reasons which increases the efficiency of
for example- Tesco as well as Asda
reduced their costs by taking of the lorries from road along with an efficient
distribution network where freight movement of goods and services happens on
The debate on which is a better mode of transportation is never
ending. It’s clear that in transportation, there is no right answer, just the
most efficient one. In the above evaluation, both the supermarkets found rail
transport as the most efficient one as compared to road transport. Rail
transport due to its balanced advantages and disadvantages is a preferred
choice over road transport. The transport and logistics sector thrives to
improve its quality and services on time, the road transport clearly is a major
obstacle for the companies as the road congestion along with the carbon
emissions is a major concern for everybody these days. Growth in this sector depends on the ability
of a company to adapt to the changing dynamics of this industry. Thus,
supermarket retailers adapted to the change and preferred railways over