Inland Container Logistics and Interports. Goals and Features of an Ongoing Applied Research
Proceedings of the Ninth Scientific Meeting of the Italian Society of Transport Economists, October 3-5, 2007, Naples, Italy
24 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2008 Last revised: 26 Feb 2012
Date Written: October 1, 2007
In a container transportation and logistics network, we define an interport as a common user hub facility located in the hinterland of one or several seaports, and where different services are available to carriers and shippers, such as: container stuffing and unstuffing, rail-road trans-shipping, temporary storage of import/export full and empty units, customs clearance and inspection, container tagging and sorting, container and vehicle maintenance and repair, and even the opening, manipulation and processing of the containers' content for later marketing efforts at ultimate destinations.
The interport's functions thus range from simple cargo consolidation/deconsolidation and intermodal switching to customs operations and advanced quasi-manufacturing and distribution logistic services (assembly, kitting, packaging, labelling, quality control, reverse logistics, city logistics, etc.). Interports represent an innovation posing challenges and opportunities for many operators involved in freight transport, logistics, manufacturing and trade.
In the following sections, after a brief general presentation of some main features of the containerisation and intermodality, we focus on inland container logistics and interports. More specifically, we deal with issues related both to the meaning of the term "interport" and the functions of this new kind of inland freight node with reference to the case of Italy and by considering the recent evolutions in container transportation and logistics networks. Furthermore, we introduce some preliminary topics related to the interport-seaport system in Campania, a region lying in Southern Italy, by describing some technical and organisational features of the regional rail freight network and in particular of the interport-seaport railway connections. We also illustrate the case of Marcianise in Campania as a relevant example of Italian interport. Finally, we describe the main goals and features of an ongoing research concerning an empirical application of a mathematical programming model to optimize the distribution of container flows through the Campania seaports and interports.
Keywords: containerisation, intermodality, logistics, interport, inland distribution, Campania region, hub and spoke
JEL Classification: C69, L91, R40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation