Economic impacts of a TransPod system
Global trade has reached a tipping point. To fight the threats of climate change, the world will ultimately have to decrease its Carbon emissions. Yet, most freight transport modes still rely on fossil fuels, hence the need to cope with rapidly increasing volumes and faster deliveries requested by consumers. This thesis explores this issue through the scope of new modes of environmentally-friendly “green” High-Speed Freight transport (HSF) and the socioeconomic impacts resulting from their introduction in existing corridors.
To materialise these impacts, the thesis develops an analysis framework through a case study on the implementation of a freight version of the Hyperloop (theoretical high-speed vacuum transport system) in Canada’s Quebec-Windsor corridor. The research first focuses on developing a better understanding of the market’s need for faster freight transport by using social media text analytics to survey users about current freight services, and by interviewing leading shipping companies. The second part of the case study is dedicated to quantifying the expected socioeconomic impacts through undertaking a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) including 7 impact categories: Infrastructure Costs, Operational Costs, Costs on the trucking Industry, Revenues, Consumer Surplus, Environmental Benefits and Safety Benefits.
The analysis showed that consumers were concerned about the timeliness of existing freight systems. Furthermore, the forwarders interviewed considered that the Hyperloop could be a potential way of solving existing issues, reduce inventory holding costs, and increase operational efficiency. Building on these impacts, the CBA showed a net socioeconomic benefit 30 years after the implementation of Hyperloop. Sales revenues and increased consumer surplus due to time savings were the largest benefits identified. Additionally, the introduction of this new mode of HSF could develop new industries and stimulate innovation in the corridor. Whilst the Hyperloop might take a long time to be implemented, its substitution effect could rapidly damage trucking companies specialised in time-sensitive shipping. Nevertheless, organisations could remain competitive depending on their ability to adapt their business model or if Hyperloop shipping rates become too expensive.
The findings of this study can be generalised to other countries beyond Canada and are of high relevance from the perspective of strategic issues in international business and operations management. Besides, these results can be used by policymakers and industry professionals to develop a better understanding on the social, economic, and organisational impacts of the introduction of new green modes of High-Speed Freight transport.
Results of the feasibility study to bring sustainable transport solutions that could profoundly impact Alberta’s economic landscape.
Thesis report from our colleague Maxime Lachaize exploring the scope of new modes of environmentally-friendly “green” High-Speed Freight transport (HSF) and the socio-economic impacts resulting from their introduction in existing corridors.