A physical distribution network can best be analysed and studied as a set of distribution nodes connected chiefly by two kinds of flows: a transportation flow and an informational flow. Co‐ordinating the activities of these two major components is a pre‐requisite for the successful operation of any business enterprise. For unless the company employs its own private carriage, the shipper controls over customer service stops short only at his own dockyard. To be sure, the performance of a transport carrier influences to a large extent the effectiveness of the entire logistics function. For this reason alone, it is not surprising that the selection of an appropriate transport mode and the selection of a given carrier within each mode is indeed an important business decision. Yet, the carrier selection decision has traditionally been characterised by a lack of definitive analysis. In general terms, carrier choices have been based on a combination of rational and emotional motives with emphasis on the latter.
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