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Business Models for Shipper-Operated Intermodal Transport Solutions

Sustainable Logistics

ISBN: 978-1-78441-062-9, eISBN: 978-1-78441-061-2

Publication date: 4 December 2014



One of the main difficulties in developing new intermodal transport solutions is finding the right business model. Though business models have received limited attention in the existing intermodal research, several authors have pointed out the importance of business models in the intermodal context.

Existing intermodal literature discusses several types of different business. The current study takes an in-depth look at The Own-Account Model, its strengths and weaknesses through two empirical examples.

The chapter investigates this model by analysing the business model in practice, for example actors, roles and responsibilities, risk distribution and contracts.


Research is conducted using a qualitative approach with two case studies. Osterwalder’s (2004) framework for business models is applied to analyse the empirical cases.


The roles and responsibilities of the actors are described. For the parties to be willing to “invest into” the new intermodal solution, long-term contracts are required. The shipper controls the channel, but has to rely heavily on the transport operators for their expertise and resources.

The analysis has found that the model can be used to avoid many of the difficulties in setting up a new intermodal solution, such as ensuring the base volume or having the overall control over the intermodal chain.

Research implications

Better understanding of this type of business model allows authorities to better support the development of intermodal transport through policy measures. The results obtained also improve the understanding of how intermodal transport is performed in practice.



Flodén, J. and Sorkina, E. (2014), "Business Models for Shipper-Operated Intermodal Transport Solutions", Sustainable Logistics (Transport and Sustainability, Vol. 6), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 193-215.



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