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Semantic preliminaries in transports

February 27, 2012

On a structural and functional analysis of the logistic chains, it can be noticed that the transport is mainly multimodal than intermodal. Even at the limit, if only one transport mode is used, it should be considered that all the rest of transport modes participate as well, but the variables attached to them have neutral values. In terms of category theory, each logistic chain is a composition of elementary activities, among which, some of them are part of the transports category. For generalization, the logistic chain is a composition of objects and morphisms of the logistic category.

In the Romanian language (DEX) there are the following definitions for ‘mode’ and the elements of composition ‘inter-’, ‘multi-’ and ‘co(n)-’:

Mode: way to be, to manifest of somebody or something; manner of doing something; way, procedure, method.

Inter-: element of composition, meaning ‘between’, which serves for forming some nouns or adjectives (from lat. inter, franc. inter).

Multi-: element of composition which express the idea of plurality and serves for forming some nouns and adjectives (from franc. multi-).

Co(n)-: element of composition meaning ‘together with’ (from franc. co(n)-, lat. cum-), which serves for forming some nouns and adjectives.

In this context, it should be considered the concepts of intermodal transfer (change of the transport mode), multimodal transport (the consecutive or parallel utilisation of several transport modes), co-modal transport (based on transport modes cooperation), modal transport (using the same transport mode, without changing the transport mode), modal transfer (eventually, trans-modal, if the loading unit transfer is done between two segments of the same transport mode) or, simply, transport. Instead of transfer notion, it can be used the transhipment notion, when there isn`t any risk of confusions.

If correlating these concepts with those currently used in the contemporary transport, it could be asserted the intermodal transport is the multimodal transport with the consecutive use of transport modes among which the intermodal transfer of loading units is done, and the co-modality is, in fact, the multimodal transport using the transport modes in cooperation, under global optimum conditions.

Although our vision regarding the future of inter-, multi-, and co-modal concepts is mainly based on the co-operation concepts, at the same extent there are relevant denominations such as collaboration or co-operation. So we can consider that intermodality represents the transport modes ability to co-operate among them. In this respect, the well-known definitions given by DEX are explanatory:

To co-operate: to work together with somebody, to collaborate.

To collaborate: to participate beside others in achieving a certain action or a work/creation done in common.

To contribute: to collaborate with somebody, to contribute oneself to an action.

No matter which are the accepted definitions, in order to be a distinct entity, the logistic chain ought to have a holistic character based on the co-operation and integration of transport modes and of other logistic activities, as well as to have a certain technological coherence, and the transported loading to be unitized and eventually standardized, to be sustained by unique documents which should at least be harmonized along the entire logistic chain, to be under the incidence of a coherent legislation.

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