The purpose of this paper is to present a rigorous and critical review of an established cost/time-distance model. The model offers a perspective on the inter-relationships between transport modes, nodes, methods and cargo volumes, types and forms. Organisations can review their door to door supply chain costs by applying the model described in the paper. The reviewed multimodal transport cost model is based on a relatively simple framework but demonstrates that other existing models of modal choice, multimodal transport and inventory location all oversimplify the transport process. The critical components of the model are the transport from origin to destination, consignment loading/unloading, intermodal transfer and performance variability. Other activities such as storage, value addition and customs clearance can be added into the model as required. Several findings emerge from the development of the model and provide much greater clarity concerning the cost-structure of door-to-door multimodal transport services along economic corridors. The model is shown to be a useful tool for identifying theoretical alternative locations for facilities such as inland terminals. The relative unit costs of operating respective freight transport modes lead to a series of classic door-to-door cost profiles stemming from the modal mix, which varies according to shipment distance, volume, cargo value-density and other variables.
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