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Unit of study_

ITLS6101: Global Freight Logistics Management

This unit provides students with an understanding of the management of international freight, including express, freight forwarding, rail, trucking, air freight and ocean shipping. The unit covers underlying supply chain drivers of international trade flows and the demand for capacity in different freight transport modes, as well as industry structure, institutional environment (customs, etc.) and market access. Building on this background the unit highlights the implications for profitable international logistics operations. The unit focuses on corporate strategies around fleet and network planning as well as revenue and cost management. The material covered in the unit takes into account recent developments in global and regional economic activity and discusses implications for the various sectors of the air, sea and intermodal freight businesses. This unit involves case studies and industry presentations, and analysis from the perspectives of shippers, carriers, end customers, regulatory bodies and investors.


Academic unit Transport and Logistics Studies
Unit code ITLS6101
Unit name Global Freight Logistics Management
Session, year
Semester 1, 2020
Attendance mode Normal evening
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Rico Merkert,
Lecturer(s) Michael Bell ,
Rico Merkert,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam Final exam
Written exam
30% Formal exam period 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Presentation Group case presentation
Case study and oral presentation
15% Week 07 10 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Individual report
25% Week 08
Due date: 27 Apr 2020 at 16:00

Closing date: 04 May 2020
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Presentation group assignment GSC group presentation
Oral presentation
30% Week 11 20-30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
group assignment = group assignment ?
  • Individual report: Students will prepare a report related to international trade, regulation of the air cargo or shipping business, fleet planning, network management, revenue management, cost management, or some other aspect of the air cargo or shipping business. Students can choose from two possible topics to be provided by the lecturer (during the first class). 
  • Group case presentation​: 10 slides per group. Students will discuss and present in groups a case related to the global freight and logistics business. They will provide their views on questions such as: What went wrong in that particular case, what went well and what can be improved. They will also have to discuss the potential limitations of the case and as to whether the case realistically reflects what happens in practice.
  • GSC group presentation: In the group supply chain design exercise, students will be divided into groups and each group will be assigned a product for which they will design a supply chain. Each student will be required to present for 5 minutes. The presentation should be 6 slides each + 2 slides group summary. Each group will be required to make well-founded decisions on mode of transport, storage arrangements, the locations for activities, as well as on whether and if so how to outsource logistics.  
  • Final exam: The final quiz will cover key concepts of the material presented in the unit.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction: the world economy, freight requirements, modal options, air and sea freight markets, assets and business models; 2. The world economy, trade and business opportunities from a global shipping line perspective (RM) Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 02 1. International trade and freight forecasting, gravity model, mode choice; 2. Introduction to global supply chain design projects (MB*2) Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 03 1. International trade flows - understanding the drivers of demand for freight transportation capacity; 2. Access to the air cargo markets (RM) Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 04 1. Trade documentation, trade finance, insurance, hedging; 2. Routing and scheduling in logistics (MB*2) Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 05 1. Intermodal (container) supply chains and city logistics with automation, industry 4.0 and internet of things (MB); 2. Bulk supply chains, energy trades and markets Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 07 1. Global freight forwarder/integrator case; 2. Environmental aspects of global freight management(RM*2) Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 08 1. Investment in logistics infrastructure; 2. Supply chain cyber security (RM) Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 09 1. Hub location in logistics; 2. Business, life and technological cycles in logistics (MB*2) Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 10 1. Standards, tracking and tracing and e-freight; 2. Industry structure and performance of the air cargo business (RM) Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 11 Global supply chain design presentations (RM/MB *2) Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  
Week 12 Revision Lecture and tutorial (6 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Lecture recording: All lectures and seminars are recorded and will be available on Canvas for student use. Please note the Business School does not own the system and cannot guarantee that the system will operate or that every class will be recorded. Students should ensure they attend and participate in all classes.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

There is no required textbook but the recommended readings for this unit are:

Merkert R, Van de Voorde E, and de Wit J (2017) Making or breaking - Key success factors in the air cargo market Journal of Air Transport Management, 61, 1-5. (

Merkert, R. and Alexander, D.W. (2018): Air Cargo, in: Graham, A. and Halpern, N. (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Air Transport, Routledge, 29-47.

Stopford M. (2009): Maritime Economics, 3rd ed., Routledge.

UNCTAD (2019): Review of Maritime Transport 2019 (

All further readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of the international freight business (aviation, shipping and intermodal) and the factors that impact most on the workings of the industry
  • LO2. apply theoretical concepts of strategic management to the core issues faced by global supply chains and international freight transport (challenges but also opportunities for growth and innovation)
  • LO3. critically analyse links between strategic, tactical and operational perspectives in problem solving and decision making in internationally operating logistics and transport businesses
  • LO4. identify key elemental differences in international freight business models using appropriate analytical tools. Successfully employ datasets to make informed choices related to these different transportation providers
  • LO5. demonstrate acquired communication and vital team working skills through class presentations and a global supply chain design group exercise.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.

More information can be found on Canvas.


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