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The effect of unitised freight flows and logistics strategies on Scotland’s external trade.

Baird, A.; Monios, J.; Wilmsmeier, T.; Mathie, I.


A. Baird

J. Monios

T. Wilmsmeier

I. Mathie


This paper analyses unitised freight flows in Scotland, the reasons behind the current modal split and likely future developments. The impacts of these findings on logistics strategies for Scottish shippers are then considered in the context of the penalty of peripherality for Scottish trade.
The work begins with a presentation of unitised flows by sea, rail and road and identifies the causes of current transport chains. Specific attention is given to the role of RoRo in UK freight transport, which accounts for a higher share of unitised trade than containers. A leakage index is developed, illustrating how much maritime traffic is lost to Scotland, based on measures of population and GDP.
A number of issues for Scottish shippers are identified. The added cost of repositioning, shortages of boxes caused by lines holding minimal stock in Scotland and the unavailability of correct equipment. Choice of transport provider and appropriate frequency of feeder services are also restricted. The logistics strategies of large retailers are therefore of increasing importance to Scotland’s trade imbalances, particularly in relation to their use of RDCs in England. This has the effect of reducing direct maritime imports to Scotland which exacerbates the container imbalance as well as making modal shift away from road transport less feasible


Baird, A., Monios, J., Wilmsmeier, T., & Mathie, I. (2010, October). The effect of unitised freight flows and logistics strategies on Scotland’s external trade. Paper presented at European Transport Conference 2010

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name European Transport Conference 2010
Start Date Oct 11, 2010
End Date Oct 13, 2010
Deposit Date Mar 17, 2011
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Freight flows; shipping; Scotland; transport chains; unitised trade; containers; maritime traffic;
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