Converging modes, technologies, infrastructure, and terminals influence the global freight transportation system. However, the converging aspects of the freight transportation system are not a depiction of converging logistic aspects. Now more than ever, logistical practices are far from being similar or uniform (Clausen & Voll, 2013). This paper analyzes the difference between the European and North America freight transportation systems, global trade, and impending global policy implications. In terms of the configuration of logistics and transport networks, North America and European regions are not walking hand in hand. This is depicted by their differing regulatory frameworks and operational decisions (Clausen & Voll, 2013).
Even after the global freight transport systems became standardized due to containerization, the convergence of logistics and transportation aspects is yet to happen. This divergence in the different settings and configurations of the freight transportation system in Europe and North America has had a significant impact on management practices pertaining to the global supply chain (Rodrigue & Notteboom, 2010). The difference is caused by many factors including the geographical setting, ownership of infrastructure, policy and regulatory processes and modal preferences that exist in the different regions. These factors cause regional distribution practices that become difficult to converge.

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Some of the significant differences that exist between the two transport regions include differences in the intermodal networks and rail terminals of Europe and North America. Furthermore, there are some large differences in the way policies and regulations are made in both Europe and North America (Mortimer & Islam, 2014).

However, there are similarities that exist in the freight transportation systems of North America and Europe. Although, the similarities are fewer than the difference making the differences more significant in the transportation system. However, the differences influence significant changes in the globalization of trade. These differences are seen to create an added value for the formation of freight regionalism (Clausen & Voll, 2013).

The resulting environment of global trade alludes to the creation of diverse supply chains in the economy. These supply chains are redesigned according to the product service level and varying customer requirements. The added value in the supply chains is demonstrated by the removal of additional costs to offloading and loading containerized cargo at different terminals (Mortimer & Islam, 2014). For instance, in Europe, clients can opt for direct transportation of their cargo to their respective destinations without going through an extensive distribution network. This not only saves on the cost, but also the time taken to transport the cargo.

The differences in the freight transport system have implications on global trade and global policy. With the existing differences in policy views on the development of transport systems, it becomes particularly hard for the trade services in both regions to converge. The implications of the existing differences in different modes of transportation result to changes in globalized trade (Rodrigue & Notteboom, 2010). The policy and regulatory differences that exist also significantly affect the ability of business to be done in an efficient and effective manner. Ideally, the basic functionality of freight transportation system with its existing differences creates significant challenges, which affect planning of transportation and efficiency of the global economy.

Indeed, this paper touches on some but not all parts of the regionalism that is the freight transportation network of North America and Europe. The current information is not enough and this necessitates further research into the area. Recommendations for the probable research areas regarding the chosen topic include the importance of benchmarking and performance measurement, which is affected significantly by the difference of performance indicators across the two regions. Furthermore, there are other factors that have not been fully exhausted and could provide an enhanced illustration of the freight distribution from a regional perspective.

  • Clausen, U., & Voll, R. (September 14, 2013). A comparison of North American and European railway systems. European Transport Research Review, 5(3), 129-133.
  • Mortimer, P., & Islam, D. M. Z. (December 01, 2014). A comparison of North American and European railway systems – A critique and riposte. European Transport Research Review: An Open Access Journal, 6(4), 503-510.
  • Rodrigue, J.-P., & Notteboom, T. (July 01, 2010). Comparative North American and European gateway logistics: the regionalism of freight distribution. Journal of Transport Geography, 18(4), 497-507.