Factors Affecting the Competitiveness of the Australian Rail Sector: A Systems Approach to Improving Service Quality
Ghaderi, H and Cahoon, S and Nguyen, H-O, Factors Affecting the Competitiveness of the Australian Rail Sector: A Systems Approach to Improving Service Quality, International Journal of Logistics Systems and Management, 26, (3) pp. 294-315. ISSN 1742-7967 (2017) [Refereed Article]
The productivity of rail freight transport in Australia is hampered by various impediments. These include infrastructure constraints, commercial barriers, and inconsistent standards and policy, all of which influence the quality attributes of the rail freight service in different ways. Therefore, in order to develop strategies to make rail an attractive mode of transport, it is critical to identify these impediments and assess their relevant influence on the quality of rail service. By adopting a systems approach to competitiveness, this research aims to empirically examine the impact of impediments faced by the rail sector. This approach is beneficial as it: (i) identifies the distinct impact of each impediment on the different freight service attributes (FSA); (ii) provides important insights to improve the rail service quality; and (iii) aims to assist government and industry to develop informed transportation and infrastructure planning decision making by identifying the poorer performing areas of system. The analysis identified the key factors influencing the quality of different FSAs relating to (i) infrastructure management; (ii) interoperability; and (iii) organisational and commercial relationships. The implications derived from this study indicate that the freight rate is still a key area for rail to achieve competitive advantage considering the market characteristics.
Keywords: Rail freight, Intermodal, Competitiveness, Freight logistics, rail stakeholders