Student Competitions

Intermodal EXPO Academic Challenge – Annual Student Competition

Since 2011, the Student Competition at EXPO has allowed undergraduate students from IANA’s Scholarship Award schools to apply their logistics and transportation curriculum to real-world intermodal issues and showcase their understanding of global and domestic intermodal supply chains.

The first three competitions consisted of student research paper presentations on a prompted intermodal topic before a panel of industry judges. Subsequent competitions have consisted of student teams presenting recommendations on a specific intermodal industry business case.

2021 - FootSkinz Inc.

Challenge Participating Schools

Prior to the pandemic, FootSkinz, producing a wide variety of athletic socks with the specs precisely tailored to meet the requirements of individual sports, all available in the exact shoe size of the athlete, had grown organically at a rapid pace. Product continued to be sourced from the family factory in Viet Nam, using imported materials including the finest cotton from the U.S. and New Zealand lamb’s wool. The finished product was brought to the United States via containers imported through the port of Long Beach. Each 40-foot high-cube container could carry roughly 15,000 individual units with an average value of $13 per unit. The containers were trucked to the FootSkinz warehouse in City of Industry where the containers were unloaded and the product placed in inventory.

Strategy

What is your recommended supply chain strategy for FootSkinz? Offer a 3-5 point recommended strategy for FootSkinz. Be sure to support your recommendations by addressing:

  • How your chosen strategy supports the overall corporate philosophy of FootSkinz.
  • Cost analysis of your recommendation versus other supply chain options under review.
  • Growth potential for your recommendation versus other supply chain options under review.
  • Marketing and strategic considerations including maintenance of brand identity, which markets to serve, and market-related factors.
  • How flexible and resilient your recommendation is when unexpected disruptions occur.

2020 - Dray USA

Challenge Participating Schools

Each of the teams responded to a topical case focused on import volume trends resulting from the U.S.-China trade war and the current global pandemic, from the perspective of a fictitious drayage company.

The questions the students responded to in their presentations included:

  • Will sufficient volume return to allow us to fully employ our fleet of company trucks?
  • Will there be a snap-back in business, so that we will soon need our owner-operators, in which case we need to feed them enough business now so that they will continue to work with us when things improve?
  • Which ports have been winners and losers?
  • Will the changes the trade war and the Pandemic have caused continue unabated or will it alternatively, stabilize, perhaps, or even return to the way they were previously?

2019 - Taking the Long View

Challenge Participating Schools

The tone was set in the introduction to the case: “In order for us to know where we’re going, it’s important to know where we have been, where we’re at and how we got there”. Each of the participating teams was asked to analyze historical freight volume trends for international and domestic intermodal and over-the-road markets and identify long term trends as well as issues affecting YTD 2019 volumes. They were also asked to identify specific drivers and factors that impacted the volume trends and provide predictions for traffic patterns for the rest of 2019 and into 2020.

Georgia Southern University — Winning School
College of Charleston
State University of New York Maritime College
University of Maryland
University of North Florida
University of North Texas
University of Wisconsin - Superior

2018 — Pacific Central Railroad Case

Challenge Participating Schools

In this case, students were asked to review the Pacific Central Railroad’s intermodal network for the opportunity to reduce operating costs by adopting a new train plan. Students were tasked with producing a weekly operating cost for the network as it currently exists using the train schedule provided in the case and the three major cost elements; determine which trains to combine; provide the routing, where the split or combination is to occur and the schedule for the combined train. Additionally, the teams detailed the cost of operating the combined train and compared it to the cost of operating two separate trains and what were the savings per year both in dollars and as a percentage of cost. And finally, to determine the total annual savings of the operating plans.

College of Charleston — Winning School
Georgia Southern University
State University of New York Maritime College
University of Maryland
University of North Florida
University of North Texas
University of Wisconsin-Superior

2017 — Port of Clearview Case

Challenge Participating Schools

In this case students became members of the management team for the Port of Clearview, a landlord port and major US West Coast freight gateway ranked among North America’s top 10 container ports. In recent years, shifting ocean carrier alliance dynamics, marine terminal cargo surges, labor unrest, and chassis shortages and imbalances had degraded cargo throughput with direct impact to all intermodal stakeholders, in particular the harbor draymen. Student teams provided recommendations to the Port of Clearview Efficiency Task Force after analyzing real-world factors of marine terminal gate operations and evaluating congestion mitigation solutions including: gate hour extensions and levying container surcharges, port-wide truck appointment systems, and visibility software utilizing GPS, RFID, or Bluetooth/Wi-Fi “sniffers” to provide real-time congestion and turn-time data.

University of Maryland — Winning School
Georgia Southern University
State University of New York Maritime College
University of North Florida
University of North Texas
University of Wisconsin Superior

2016 — Sealift Container Lines Case

Challenge Participating Schools

In this case, students were placed in the shoes of the CEO of Sealift Container Lines who must make decisions in order to ensure his company’s survival. The students were required to understand maritime economics, liner dynamics and alliance formation, slow-steaming and ultra-large-container-vessel trends, and the landside effects of larger vessel deployment. The teams presented their recommendations on whether SCL should join an alliance, merge with another carrier, allow itself to be acquired, seek a fleet renewal or another solution.

University of Wisconsin Superior — Winning School
College of Charleston
Georgia Southern University
University of Maryland
University of North Florida
University of North Texas

2015 — Coronado Cartage Company Case

Challenge Participating Schools

The case focused on Coronado Cartage Company, a fictitious motor carrier operating in Southern California which utilizes a network of 3,000 contracted owner-operators to provide service to marine and rail intermodal terminals. Students were required to understand the economics of the driver shortage, operational and financial differences between employee and O-O intermodal driver models, factors decreasing the pool of available drivers such as increasing age and retirements, and issues regarding the recruitment and retention of new intermodal truckers. The teams provided their solutions to the driver shortage and real-world recommendations to ensure Coronado attracted a dedicated team of drivers that would enable the company to succeed.

University of North Texas — Winning School
University of Maryland
University of North Florida
University of Wisconsin-Superior

2014 — PakSmart Luggage Corporation Case

Challenge Participating Schools

This case focused on PakSmart Luggage Corporation, a fictional manufacturer of unique carry-on luggage products and a supply chain network with primary manufacturing in China and distribution centers located near Los Angeles, California and Toledo, Ohio. Students were required to analyze the company’s inbound logistics and provide cost recommendations with regard to the intermodal routing of international ocean containers, drayage and domestic intermodal transload opportunities, and transport and inventory carrying costs estimates for a variety of available container sizes.

University of North Texas — Winning School
University of Maryland
University of North Florida
University of Wisconsin-Superior

2013 — Regulatory Impacts on Intermodal Research Paper

Challenge Participating Schools

Students were asked to consider regulatory changes impacting the global supply chain’s operating environment. Specific aspects were: environmental sustainability; adequate supply of labor; capacity, in terms of infrastructure and equipment; and new technology. The submitted research described specific conditions that would: facilitate growth in intermodal transportation services; and alternatively hamper growth in intermodal services.

University of North Texas — Winning School
Auburn University
University of Maryland
University of North Florida

2012 — Growth of Intermodalism Research Paper

Challenge Participating Schools

Students were asked to identify the primary reasons for the current growth in utilization of intermodal services and provide an analysis of whether these reasons would be sustainable for the next 5 – 10 years and under what circumstances. As part of the analysis, students identified attributes missing from the current market that could drive future cargo toward intermodal and what actions would need to be taken by intermodal carriers to capitalize on these potential opportunities.

University of Maryland — Winning School
University of North Florida

2011 — Intermodal Value Proposition Research Paper

Challenge Participating Schools

Students were asked to identify specific supply chains and markets where intermodal transportation could add value and provide justification for their recommendations. In their response papers, the students considered: shipper categories that traditionally utilize highway transport vs. multimodal transport; the locations of distribution centers, consumer demographics and consumption patterns; commodity types and product characteristics; equipment flows and availability — chassis and containers; and impact on truck driver availabilities/shortages.

University of Maryland — Winning School
University of North Florida

IANA Logistics & Supply Chain Management Case Competition at the University of North Florida

Under its IANA Scholarship Award, the University of North Florida annually hosts a three day case competition, drawing some of the brightest students from the nation’s leading undergraduate supply chain management programs to Jacksonville, Florida. During this competition, students must analyze an intermodal case study, create a presentation that defines the problem, and provide judges with recommendations to solve the problem. As part of the three day competition, students, faculty and industry judges visit intermodal facilities in the Jacksonville region.

2017 — Intermodal Detective Case

Challenge Participating Schools

This case focused on Inland Point Intermodal trends and the root causes of recent intermodal trade data that indicate an increase in international imported containers yet a decrease in IPI containers transported by rail. Students were required to understand transloading of international container cargo into domestic containers, mega-alliance service complexity and ocean carrier consolidation, and OTR motor carrier competition. Teams were asked to provide an explanation for the trends, quantify its effects, predict future conditions and recommend actions to be taken by the intermodal industry.

University of Tennessee — Winning School
Auburn University
Georgia Southern University
University of Arkansas
University of Maryland
University of North Florida
University of North Texas

2016 — Ice Cold Express Case

Challenge Participating Schools

The students analyzed a business case for Ice Cold Express, a fictitious temperature controlled truckload carrier. The case required students to research the North American reefer intermodal market, rail line haul, drayage cost, equipment cost, intermodal provider profit margin, equipment utilization, and intermodal unit load capacity. The ultimate recommendation was whether the company should invest in reefer trailers, reefer containers, or modify OTR refrigerated trailers to ensure fleet capacity.

University of Tennessee — Winning School
Auburn University
Georgia Southern University
University of Arkansas
University of Maryland
University of North Florida
University of North Texas

 

2015 — Florida East Coast Railway Case

Challenge Participating Schools

This case focused on market analysis for a potential intermodal service that would link southern and central Florida. The railroad that would provide the service was Florida East Coast Railway, an actual Class II rail carrier. The students were required to analyze international and domestic intermodal lanes, review maritime container connectivity to FECR served ports, assess the viability of a new “short-haul” domestic intermodal service, and consider sustainable options such as FECR’s interest in LNG locomotives and truck tractors.

University of North Texas — Winning School
Auburn University
Georgia Southern University
Michigan State University
University of Arkansas
University of Maryland
University of North Florida
University of Tennessee

2014 — Monroe Supply Hardware Case

Challenge Participating Schools

The students analyzed a business case study for Monroe Supply Hardware — an actual company whose identity in the case was masked, a regional retailer of building and home improvement products headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, which operates a network of 65 retail outlets in Ohio and in neighboring states of Kentucky, Indiana and Pennsylvania. The case focused on the role of intermodal transportation in Monroe’s global supply chain, stretching from Asia to North America.

University of Tennessee — Winning School
Auburn University Georgia Southern University
Michigan State University
University of Arkansas
University of Maryland
University of North Florida
University of North Texas

2013 — Yellow Moon Case

Challenge Participating Schools

The students analyzed a business case study for Yellow Moon — an actual company whose identity in the case was masked, a well-established office supply company with annual revenue of $950 million. The case study addressed a number of common transportation management issues such as cost, service, rates, risk, and intermodal operations. This case required student teams to analyze real freight data and order shipment history, and prioritize their efforts with an ABC approach.

Auburn University – Winning School
Georgia Southern University
Michigan State University
University of Arkansas
University of Maryland
University of North Florida
University of North Texas

2012 — West Marine Case

Challenge Participating Schools

The case study required students to analyze supply chain issues facing West Marine, a leading retailer and wholesaler of boating equipment sold through retail stores, internet and catalogs. The students addressed end-to-end supply chain issues including customer service, operational models, delivery options, finance and investment, future growth, distribution and corporate culture. They also took the opportunity to weave intermodal transportation solutions into West Marine’s expansion plans.

University of Arkansas — Winning School
Auburn University
Georgia Southern University
Michigan State University
University of Maryland
University of North Florida
University of North Texas
University of Tennessee

2011 — Zappos.com Case

Challenge Participating Schools

The case study focused on supply chain issues facing Zappos.com, a leading online retailer of shoes and apparel. The students addressed end-to-end supply chain issues including customer service, operational models, delivery options, finance and investment, future growth, corporate culture, brand management, inventory, distribution, and a host of challenges that face decision makers every day in the real world.

University of Tennessee — Winning School
Auburn University
Georgia Southern University
Michigan State University
University of Arkansas
University of Maryland
University of North Florida
University of North Texas