Tag: niche

November 2016 Transportation by barge as an alternative to intermodal transport

Use of transportation by barge

The systems of transportation by barge have long been used as an alternative to land transport. This mean of transportation is competitive to trains and trucks. In addition, it significantly allows the reduction of the environmental footprint of the transport of goods.

There are two major segments in the market, long and the short distance.

Long-distance is used in large rivers, such as Mississippi, Rhine, Danube and St Lawrence in transporting the goods from one end to the other of the continents.

This system is competitive to trains and trucks, but its performance depends greatly on the quality of the underlying infrastructure and the interconnection of the navigational channels. In return, barges offer the advantage to adapt to different types of products transported and allow more flexibility for the navigation on the various courses of water. They offer capacities ranging from 350 to 11 000 tonnes of deadweight and use proven technologies.

On short distances, this type of transport is growing and presents new opportunities.  Pilot projects have demonstrated this effectiveness, in particular, to reduce congestion in the areas of access to port sites of international trade.

Despite the high volume of activities and the economic benefits that flow from port activities, access to facilities remains constrained due to the movement of trucks and trains. The comings and the goings of land vehicles pose a problem by the noise, air and ground pollution, and by the loss of time related to the traffic congestion. In addition, the congestion of port activities reduces the effectiveness of the supply chain by increasing the time of distribution of the goods to the markets of destination.

To solve these problems and, as a counterweight to the costly alternatives that the investments represent in the construction, enlargement and the optimization … Lire la suite



Can governments contribute to the development of the shipbuilding industry without resorting to public procurement? In a North American context, can we gain market share on Asia, the dominant player in this field?

A report released by researchers at the National Defense University (Eisenhower school) in the spring of 2015 partially addresses these issues. [1] It concludes that they are competitiveness problems in the  U.S. industry against Asia. China, Japan and South Korea now occupy more than 80% of the market share of shipbuilding on the commercial segment contracts.

Analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT), [2], highlights the importance of the national defense budget to compensate for the weaknesses of U.S. industry in the commercial segment.

Currently, this industry survives almost exclusively  on public procurement, notably with the military sector. It represented 38.1 billion $ in 2014, and is expected to grow annually by 3.9% per year until 2019, or 46 billion $. Barely 15% of revenues of the U.S. industry are related to the export.

One of the flagships of the report recommendations is that,  in order to ensure predictability of revenues of the industry, a strategy of public long-term purchases is necessary, as what presumably has been done in Canada. [3] However, an approach which uses public procurement for economic development purposes may have some shortcomings: it makes governments abdicate the implementation of structural measures for commercial market development; it distorts the objectives of a public policy of national defense in favor of strictly economic ones and, ultimately, undermines the efforts of the industry to increase its productivity, which would make it more competitive commercial international markets.

We must recognize that government contracts are important to ensure and maintain shipbuilding industry’s development. But dependence on collateral in the long term, as … Lire la suite