The Aston Investment Masters Company has its headquarters in Manhattan, New York. It comes as one of the oldest names on Wall Street in reference to business. As it mostly occurs in many businesses, the Aston Investment Masters has undergone major transformations. At its inception, Aston Investment Masters was a dealer in cotton brokerage that was set up by three German brothers who came from the south in the period of the 1840’s. That dealership in commodities was to last until 1906, a time when Aston Philip, a son of one of the founder members joined hands with Goldmen Henry, another son of a founder member in various joint ventures (Growth Company Investor, 2007).
Bobby Aston, a well-known Wall Street figure, remained on top of the firm in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. On his death the firm faced a major slump, an event that saw former Commerce Secretary, Peter Petersan, brought in 1973. This move saw AIM achieve some form of prosperity during the 1970s. In 1977, AIM merged with a different old-line firm called Peter Loeb (Growth Company Investor, 2007).
Though the company has undergone turbulent times, it was able to negotiate its way back into life. For example, in the 1990’s, the company opted to specialise in institutional trading and investment banking. This went hand in hand with the exclusion from its earlier activities which involved retail business as it perceived this as its low point. The company however went ahead with its business, expanding to equity dealings into overseas markets. AIM has got experience in investing in transport activities though the projects have mainly been in the United States of America.
This paper looks into the risks associated with business investments in the European region with a view to finding out whether it is advisable for the Aston Investment Masters Company to launch an investment in the inter-modal segment of transport. This study finds out that the European Union has made big steps in opening its economy to direct foreign investment which is predominantly done by multinational corporations. However, there still exist risks in this endeavour as government activities like regulation and political instability arise to serve as warnings to potential and already existing companies plying their trade in Europe. But compared to other areas, the region offers the best place to invest. The political aspect is also explored as it is the political system that drafts the rules that outline how business operations are run. In conclusion I argue that Aston Investment Masters needs to plan and invest in the European region in the inter-modal service sector.
Through the use of questionnaires, data relating to the operation of business corporations and the risks involved are collected. Through the use of statistical means the data is compiled and analysed. The study finds out that indeed there are political and regulation risks that define the operation of business corporations in the region though their effect is minimal. It is on this ground that the company under focus is encouraged to invest.
Through the use of econometric analysis, it is found that political and regulation risks are statistically insignificant as they do not influence investing patterns. The high inflow of FDI indicates the response by businesses towards such regulation.
Key Words: inter-modal transportation, terminals, regulation, political risk, operational capacity, and investment.
Intermodal freight transport is a mode of transportation that involves movement of freight in a vehicle or an intermodal container by using multiple modes of transportation like ship, rail and truck. This system however does not involve the handling of freight at the point of changing of the different modes. This is a method that reduces the handling of cargo and thus lowers the risks involved in terms of destruction, thereby reducing losses. It also allows for faster transportation of the cargo. In a nutshell, the intra-continental use is the major highlight of the system as it cuts on costs.
This form of transportation, intermodal, can be traced back to the 18th century and it pre-dates the railway mode of transport (Sidney, 1846). The earlier containers are those that were used in the transportation of coal on the bridge water in the UK during the year 1780. The coal loose boxes were deployed on the railway and used for rail and road.
The Aston Investment Masters Company should consider investing in the intermodal and terminal services provision in the European market due to the fact that opportunities exist in the sector. However it is not clear cut whether opportunities exist in the transport sector in particular in the intermodal service area. It is also alleged that the company just like any business aspires to improve on its standing as a business force. in view of this, this paper will endeavour to find out whether indeed chances in the sector do exist, if they are, then the paper moves a step further to determine whether it is worthy for the Aston Investment Masters company to go ahead and take the opportunity and invest in it.
The above issue raises a need to carry further research to determine the veracity of the claims. On this basis, it is worthy undertaking a research to find out whether indeed the claims are true. If the claims are found to be true, then a recommendation on the possible responses to be made by the Aston Investment Masters Company towards investing in the European region.
The purpose and objective of this paper revolves around finding out whether there are opportunities for investment in intermodal service provision in Europe. After establishing the position, the paper endeavours to offer the range of options that may be adopted by Aston Investment Masters Company in a bid to invest in the region.
In addressing this research problem, measures are put in place so as to identify whether opportunities exist in the European region. These opportunities will however be related to the transport sector with particular reference to the provision of intermodal and terminal facilities in a host of European countries. Should Aston Investment Masters (AIM) invest in the provision of intermodal and terminal services in the European market?
Any business entity aims to expand and on the basis of this understanding this research paper must present both the major and minor aims that underlie the needs for investment by the company under study. In this research paper, the aim is to spot in which transport sector and/or project categories inside the European Union the company Aston Investment Masters (AIM) has to invest in. The other aim is to offer a solution to a specific research dilemma in market decisions-demand analysis, cost analysis and profitability. Another objective is to expand on existing knowledge in relation to investment. The main objective of the research is to determine the transport sector and/or project type/s in the European Union the company, Aston Investment Masters (AIM) should invest in.
- Determine the conditions for the service of transportation-related enterprises
- To figure out what laws govern the activity of intermodal and terminal facilities
- To determine how European regulations affect the repatriation of profits
- To determine the best way in which to venture into business in the European region
- To determine the viability of the investment
- To determine the feasibility of launching and operating the business in Europe
The Report Plan
- Chapter 1- Literature review
- Chapter 2- Research Methods and analysis
- Chapter 3- project budget
- Chapter 4- Findings
- Chapter 5 – Return on Investment
- Chapter 6 – Ethical Review
- Chapter 7 – Study Limitations
- Chapter 8 – Dissemination
- Chapter 9 -– Report
- Chapter 10 – Conclusion
- Chapter 11 – References
According to the European intermodal association (2005), the transport sector is estimated to have witnessed an increased incidence of accident occurrence. It further reveals that 25 percent of the accident incidents involving trucks could be directly attributed to cargo handling and transportation. If cargo is improperly stored and transported, it can lead to loss of the cargo itself or damaging of other property and most notably the loss of lives. In respect to that, there is need to focus into the problem and offer meaningful solutions. The necessary materials to help stabilise this concern include the bringing in of new containers that can be used in different modes of transport. Traditionally, load securing through the use of materials such as wood blocking, steel banding etc have been in use. But due to the increased movement of activities, there is bound to be congestion (Biersteker, 1992). To sort this one out there is need to refocus by getting in new equipment which can be faster in offering these services.
In reference to the Belgian authorities, studies have pointed out that, congestion problems especially on roads in the Flemish area in addition to rising health risks associated with the high concentration of particulate matter and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere emanate from this phenomenon (Anderson, 1989). As pointed here there is a gap to be filled in the sector of intermodal service provision. This may go out to help sort out the problem that is being raised.
Antwerp port and its environs, a prime economic centre, have been made to bear the brunt of congestion. Insider studies have also raised the concern of lack of intermodal road ands rail infrastructural facilities in the area of Flemish Sidney. In light of this realisation, it clearly comes to the fore that there is a need to improve or establish new intermodal links in this area.
It is in light of this information that the Belgian authorities sought to secure funding in order to finance the construction of an intermodal road-rail, terminal. This port could be used to serve the continental containers at the point of Antwerp. In this way, the capacity of the port would highly be raised – by 28 percent. The terminal was to be accessible to transhipment of intercontinental containers belonging to any entity (Bishop and Mayer, 1995).
The aim of this project was to decongest the port of Antwerp and promote a shift towards easing traffic at the port. This was in tandem to the European Union common market requirements. From this position, it becomes apparent that the European Union is in favour of decongestion. Though the way to decongest is not specified, the nature of the requirements in this investment area may call for external players to invest in European countries that are not ready to carry out such programmes themselves.
The value of intermodal terminals in relation to the access of intermodal transport services cannot be overstated. Intermodal terminals ensure efficiency and road competitiveness throughout the European Union. It is on this standing that the European region seeks to ensure the development of intermodal facilities.
Presently, an aim to improve the management of intermodal terminals in regard to operations, and capacity, is ongoing through innovations, improved operational measures, and the incorporation of all stakeholders. This includes the intermodal and terminal operators, customers, railway undertakings, shippers etc. Countries like Austria, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Hungary and The Netherlands have come together to form the Agora consortium whose aim is to improve on the intermodal and terminal transport services (Cowan, 1990 and DeBoer, 1992).
Since the inauguration of the European Union in the year 1957, the emergence of a unified market through the unification of the national freight transport systems forms one of the most important aspects in the European agenda of development. There has been increased congestion on motorways which has seen the rise in oil prices. Other concerns relating to the environment and climate effects as a result of this have not gone unnoticed. To address this problem, there is need for the optimisation of the usage of the transport system and process (Agrawal, 2000). The intermodal transport system offers the best solution towards addressing of this issue.
After the success achieved by Aston Investment Masters company in 2007, it was realised that the company envisages the idea of diversification. In the letter written to the shareholders, it was indicated also that the company had made good progress though there still remained room for improvement. Picking on these two points, it is noticeable that the company embraces the use of diversification as a strategy to expand; it also holds that the management is expansionist oriented given their insistence on making improvements. It is on this basis that the opportunity to invest in the intermodal terminal services provision should be explored.
The maritime transport sector forms part of the catalyst of economic growth. All the way through history, the sector has been a huge contributor to the prosperity and development of nations. In the course of the European nations’ history, the use of maritime transport has been encouraged due to the attendant benefits as explored above. The form of transportation ensures that there is adequate supply of food, energy and other commodities both inside the European market and the outside world. The quality of life on the peripheral maritime areas and on the islands next to these areas ought to be kept safe. Overly, the maritime industry is a big source of income and employment to the European region (Cascetta, 2001).
The European commission has got the role of ensuring that strict safety rules are in operation to curb the use of sub-standard shipping, minimising the environmental impact and reducing the dangers of maritime accidents. The commission is also charged with the responsibility of checking terrorist activities in the region. The commission is eventually in control of activities relating to passenger and all users’ welfare in the continent. The adequacy of the system has also been put into perspective as some members remain unconnected by the system. Finally, through the EU Maritime Transport Policy until 2018, the EU commission will endeavour to ensure the points raised above are adhered to (Kesic and Mrnajavac, 1996).
The objective of the policy was to optimise service provision. This was tailored to suit both the customer needs and those of the operators. It also aims to foster competition among operators.
The Act, Commission communication of 29 May 1997 on inter-modality and the intermodal carriage of goods within the European Union: Systems logic for the carriage of goods; strategies and activities intended to promote efficiency, services and sustainable development was developed in line with the above goals (Nuzzolo and Russo, 1997).
Slovenia in Europe offers promising opportunities for investment. In order to achieve full potential of development as a country, the government has realised the need to expand on its road, rail and other transport networks. It is in light of this that the Slovenia Times, in collaboration with the government have come up to organise a networking event for a group of companies and some selected decision makers in the logistics field to look into the future of intermodal transport (Regan and Garrido, 2000). This excerpt goes a long way to indicate that opportunities remain untapped in the Slovenian country; this should play as an attractive package to Aston Investment Masters Company.
Western Europe is well renowned for its sense of style. This is in line with the view that it plays home to one of the very best companies in the world. This definitely serves to offer an attractive proposition to any potential investor. Unlike in the past when there were various upheavals in the European region, it currently offers one of the most highly sought after environments for business. It enjoys a wide range of political stability, liberalised economy and ready infrastructure for development (Regan and Garrido, 2000).
The European region is the place to invest in. In contrast to the United States of America where the land is blessed with insurmountable benefits, Europe offers an attractive investment proposition given its less congestion in reference to investment levels. The point being raised here is the fact that in the United States of America the returns are lower that the returns in the European region. This is reflected by the efficiency that accompanies uncongested markets (Richard, Brealey, Stewart and Franklin, 2006).
It is known that greater opportunities do exist for potential investors. An investor who is looking into the future should consider investing in Europe. The first advantage of investing in Europe draws from the fact that diversification is feasible. At the point in time, considering the effects of the global financial tumult and its effects on the United States, the most obvious choice as an investment place would ideally be in Europe. In the developing countries, the growth rates are much higher than developed countries. This also explains why a company interested in expansion should seriously consider the region. An economy that is growing is bound to benefit the investors as revenues are always on the increase without necessarily having to rely on the size of the market (Zvi Bodie, Alex and Alan, 2004).
In a comparative perspective, a company that is listed in the European markets stands to make extra gains because the substantial investment return on a dollar is higher in Europe than back in the United States of America. However, the increased need for research may undermine earnings of a potential investor. Investing in international environments like Europe may bring with it the psychological benefits that accrue from a broadened sense in business operation. As an example, investing in Western Europe is not good diversification strategy as it may fail to guarantee high returns because this part of the region is overly developed. The good thing about investing in the developed world however may stem from the fact that volatility in the market is not severe as it is often the case with the developing countries. This makes it possible for a company to go ahead with its initial investment plans unless there are unforeseen events. Currency, risk is another issue that may affect investments. If the dollar rises or falls, this will impact on the level of earnings that the company is able to make (Groppelli and Ehsan, 2000). Given the relative stability of the United States of America dollar, the Aston Investment Masters Company should find this as an attractive venture.
While launching an investment, certain aspects are vital in the decision making process. Apart from the preparedness of the company in question, infrastructural level of a given area plays a key role. The quality of the population is also crucial. Other key considerations may include market size. Infrastructure is expected to aid the flow of service provision. On this aspect, the European market is highly developed and in a position to offer the necessary infrastructure to engage in all kinds of business. The quality of the population cannot be taken for granted. The native population should be adequately equipped to offer personnel to the company. This will save on costs of hiring expatriates. The European nations are in the forefront in education matters. This serves well with the investment aspirations of potential investors. The European market countries though not fully liberalised, were among the first to open up their economies. An open economy thus forms an easy entry point for investment activities.
The sticks markets in most European countries are not highly congested like it is the case in the United States of America and the United Kingdom. This implies that the growth levels of stocks in these regions are better as compared to the two destinations. Hence this serves to attract attention of potential investors to the region.
It is not a secret that emerging markets have been hot spots in business. Every market player wants to take the opportunity. But it is never a rosy affair as events may turn out to play a huge role in undermining businesses. Connected to this realisation is the fact that the globalisation of business has taken its toll. In respect to that, events happening outside areas of operation can portend serious problems for business (Russo and Cartisano, 2002). The recent global financial meltdown is a case in point. The credit crunch, though a short lived experience proved to be a very costly occurrence. It should not be construed at this point that the crunch has ceased, what has been witnessed is an easing trend in the financial markets. What this intends to illustrate however, is the attendant problem of globalisation, in as much as opportunities exist, there are also circumstances that contrive from the outside environment to derail progress. In such circumstances, the ideal solution would be to plan on how to counter events that tend to negatively impact on business. It is on the basis of this realisation that the Aston Investment Masters Company should get encouragement and go to invest in the European intermodal linkage system while taking all the necessary measures to cushion it from ill effects of the economic cycles.
In the recent past, there have been claims that a good number of European governments are not keen in terms of offering both political and financial support to the construction and improvement of intermodal facilities: this point to a discrepancy both in principle and in focus. There are no clear aims towards establishing a shift in the transport system to the new system. On the basis of existing information, European member states’ development of the intermodal system has overly concentrated on efforts that are geared towards the creation of a basic intermodal system rather that developing innovative transhipment technologies (Russo and Cartisano, 2002).
New members in the European community are required to develop their transport systems so as to be in synchrony with the rest of the states (Gourdin, 2001). This is hugely focused on the intermodal transport facet. Hence this is a good opportunity to investors who intend to get engaged in the industry. A forecast into the countries shows much traffic. The volumes of export and imports have been on the rise. This leaves a gap in the provision of intermodal services. It is either a change of strategy or an improved intermodal system that can be introduced to mitigate the situation.
Research Design and Methodology
This study shall be based within the City of London as the main focus of data collection. The decision to use London as the primary sample area is informed by the fact that the city is a busy centre where the use of intermodal and terminal facilities can provide diverse and valuable data for this study. Feasibility is the other reason why the researcher opted to choose this zone to be the main focal point of the study. This shall enable the researcher to overcome challenges associated with limited resources and time constraints; all of which would have otherwise negatively impacted on the reliability and validity of research findings.
According to Patton (1990), the precision of test results is positively associated with the determination of the right or appropriate sampling method. It should be remembered right away that this is a qualitative study, so the usage of a proper sampling method is important. As a result, the sample for this research analysis will be determined using a rigorous random sampling process. This approach has the advantage of being simple to use while still maintaining precision when assessing sample size.
Data Collection and Analysis
Evidence must be collected before a study can be performed in some kind of science research. The data collection techniques must be compatible with the standards of empirical methods. That is why, in this study, both main and secondary data sources were used. The usage of secondary references is critical in laying the groundwork for a research project. Primary sources, on the other hand, have new knowledge to support the study.
This research would use both main and secondary data collection processes. Questionnaire administration would be the primary form of data collection in relation to the study question. This would be accompanied by the use of poking to ensure that reliable and correct data is collected. External sources, such as books and similar previous research in this field, may be used to supplement the knowledge gathered from primary sources. Secondary sources of knowledge have the advantage of offering in-depth information on the subject under review, allowing the researcher to make more informed recommendations. Score tables, pie charts, and graphs can be used to interpret and reflect the collected data.
Sample Questionnaire 1 for Firm Employees
The following is a marketing research project. We would like to appreciate your assistance in filling out this questionnaire in regard to the best of your capability. Please do not write your name on the questionnaire as well responses are treated to be extremely confidential.
1. Which year were you born?
2. What firm do you currently work for?
- How many clients do you handle on a yearly basis?
- Is your company engaged in full time provision of services?
- Does excess demand affect your services?
- How do you handle excess demand?
- In the operation of your business, how does government regulation affect your company?
- Is there fairness in rule and regulation application?
- Is there need to add extra intermodal facilities in this region?
- In your opinion, are there excess profits in the industry?
- Are you satisfied with the level of competition in the sector?
- What will be your company response to new entrants in the market sector?
Sample Questionnaire 2 for Service Consumers
The following is a marketing research project. We would like to appreciate your assistance in filling out this questionnaire in regard to the best of your capability. Please do not write your name on the questionnaire as all responses are treated to be extremely confidential.
- In which year where you born? 1 9 __ __
- Are you satisfied with the current state of the intermodal service provision in your region?
- Do you select your service provider on the basis of nationality?
- Are the charges for the intermodal services competitive?
- Do you feel that there is any need to improve on service provision?
- Which specific area would you like to see improved?
- How would you like a new entrant into the intermodal service provision sector?
Research Time Plan
In the execution of a research, time is of essence. All activities envisaged should be clearly thought out and be planned for in advance so that unexpected difficulties are minimised. Just as it happens in running out programmes, initially the timescale is majorly hypothetical and remains a tentative guide which may be revised accordingly. However, the revision is not expected to take a sharp deviation from the provisional one. This research activity is a lengthy one, and due to the idea that what the research seeks to find is factual information, the activity cannot be rushed. A period of one year is viewed to be an ideal one awaiting further unanticipated changes.
This research study shall be based on the following work plan.
|Activity||Time Frame (in Months)|
|Reconnaissance and Sampling||1st Month-2nd Month|
|Preparation of Questionnaires and booking of appointment||2nd Month|
|Questionnaire Administration and Data collection||3rd Month to 4th Month|
|Data Analysis and review of findings||5th Month to 7th Month|
|Preparation of Report||8th Month|
|Discussion of Study Findings with Stakeholders and development of Recommendations||9th Month to 12th Month|
The usage of questionnaires is strongly regarded when doing this type of study. Validation of the measures to be utilized and the principles that serve the research’s goals is critical. The questionnaire in this case will be split into three sections, one, two, and three, due to the mission at hand. The first section would focus on gathering context details on companies who currently provide related resources as well as specific respondents (Baumol, Panzar and Willig, 1982). Parts two and three were carbon copies of one another. The standards and regulations that characterize activities in the transportation industry became the focus of the following sections. Respondents were expected to be acquainted with intermodal and terminal operations. The sample frame for determining who holds whom was used. This study looked at behavior from 2001 to 2005. A total of 100 businesses is included in the target demographic. A total of 80 companies from the United Kingdom were asked for an interview over the internet. A total of 70 companies decided to participate in the interview. Other questionnaires were mailed to prospective respondents, but only 10 were completed and returned out of the 30 submitted. This equated to a 30% answer rate on average (Bendi-Nabendi, 2002).
Through the use of the null hypothesis, the non-bias response rate was calculated. Responding and non-responding represented the null hypothesis. Having failed to satisfy the condition, the null hypothesis was rejected.
Measurement of Variables
Regulation is normally viewed in reference to the rules that are set to govern the operation of activities in a certain area. In the operation of business entities in the European market, the European commission through its European parliament is responsible in demarcating the operation zone. In line with that, there are bodies that are charged with implementing such regulations. The fairness and strictness in their application is a serious consideration in this paper so as to determine whether indeed there is a fair playground in the field. To capture the regulation aspect, the measurement of the term is captured below.
Regulation was measured in reference to the degree of intensity of the regulation as it was in the foreign market and the host market. This was done on a five point scale with 5 representing most important while 1 stood for not important at all. The strictness of the rules and regulations by host government was also considered. Issues like health and safety also counted high in this measurement. On a scale of 5, 5 represented high risk while 1 represented low risk. The firms’ perception of competition intensity was also measured on a scale of 5, with 5 standing for very high competition while 1 stood for very low competition (Biersteker 1992).
Political risk simply emanates from the fact that it is the political elite that designs the rules and regulations of a country. The rules and regulations that apply to the field of commerce form the bedrock upon which prospective investors base their investment plans (Daily News 2005). If the investors feel that the regulations and rules set may not be in tandem with their business ventures, they may opt out in search of a more lucrative business hunting ground. It is in light of this that this study sets out how the political risk involved in the operation of business entities in Europe is looked into.
Political risk is viewed in terms of the likelihood of host government to interfere with the running of affairs relating to the business of companies. These included repatriations of profits, control on foreign assets, congruency between foreign trade and governmental policies. On a scale of 5, the political risk was looked at from a managerial point of view. This centred on the government’s inclination to regulate profit repatriation, apply double standards in incentive awards and limiting stakes in certain sectors. On this scale, 5 represented high risk perception, while 1 represented low risk perception.
This was also looked into in relation to the suggestions that there was congestion at the intermodal facilities. Apart from the aspect of congestion, users of the facilities were asked to gives their views on the adequacy of the facilities. This was done to help determine whether there was a gap to be filled in the industry. It is believed that businesses should invest where there is no congestion of investors.
Respondents who mainly consisted of customers and workers of intermodal facilities were interviewed. 70 percent of the respondents were in agreement that the existing facilities were overstretched. They also indicated that they would be in favour of additional operators to ease their problems.
On the basis of this budget, the required figures in Sterling Pounds indicate that the research stands to consume a good portion of money. It is on this realisation that it became necessary to clearly outline how the funds are to be used for reasons of transparency. In consideration of the view that the Aston Investment Masters Company is a business entity that seeks to expand on its operations, it can reasonably be argued that given the gains that the company stands to make once the viability of the investment has been justified, will prove worthy it.
Other players like the country government from the European region where the Aston Investment Masters Company may consider investing are also an important stakeholder. They stand to draw gains from a survey that captures their investment status. In that respect, I would in the first instance seek to raise the funds from the Aston Investment Masters group. In case of difficulty I would turn to the European countries and present the proposal to them.
|Personnel Title||Tasks||Hours||Wage @ £18/hour||Total/assistants|
|Research Assistant A||Drafting Posters||8||£144.00||£4032|
|Preparing for on-site research||12||£216.00|
|Taking notes in interviews||36||£648.00|
|Moving audio from mini-disc to microcassette||12||£216.00|
|Assisting with literature review||12||£216.00|
|Assisting with analysis||12||£216.00|
|Research Assistant B||Moving audio from mini-disc to microcassette||12||£216.00||£2592|
|Total = £6624.00|
|Supplies/ Type of supply||Name||Cost per item||No. of items||Total|
|Transcription machines||Sony M2020 online: £299.00 US = approx. £375.00 CAN||2||£750.00|
|Adobe Photoshop Album||£50.00 US = approx. £80.00 CAN||1||£80.00|
|Total = $1569.98|
|Photocopying||£0.25/page * 200 copies||est. £50.00|
|Travel Title||Details||Cost/person||No. of people||Total|
|Flight||From Edmonton, AB to Victoria, BC|
Oct. 2 depart, October 16 return
|£154.00/person one way + taxes and fees:|
Toyota Tercel 2-dr compact
|£595.47 for 14 days||n/a||£595.47|
|Gas||$1.02/litre||est. 50 litres||$51.00|
|Accomodation||Travelodge Victoria, BC:|
1 bedroom: £58.50/night:
|£819.00 for 14 nights – 1 room||2 rooms||£1638.00|
|Food||£40 per diem||£40/person * 14 days = $560||2 people||£1120.00|
|Travel for conference (based on 2006 PLA conference in Boston, MA): Title||Details||Cost/person||No. of people||Total|
|Flight||from Edmonton, AB to Boston, MA flying Air Canada Tango:|
March 20-26, 2006
|£219.00 one way + fees and taxes:|
|Transportation||Taxi or walk to and from the conference||£20/day * 6=|
|Accomodation||Boston Hotel Buckminster, 0.5 miles from Hyatt||£99/night US = $130/night CAN * 6 nights = $780||1||£780.00|
|Food||£40 per diem||£40 * 6 days =|
|Total = $1870.13|
Total Budget Expenses:
- Personnel: £6624.00
- Supplies: £1569.98
- Services: £50.00
- Travel: £4214.13
- Conference Travel: £1870.13
TOTAL EXPENSES = £14,328.24
It was found that indeed there existed regulation measures within countries. However, the regulations were majorly derived from those given by the European commission. A 50 percent section of the respondents felt there was fair play in relation to the application of the rules. On the political risk, it was almost unanimous that the political aspect did not lay much influence in the running of businesses. Companies were for example, at their discretion to handle their finances, profits and business proceeds in a way that they felt was fit.
70 percent of the firms involved in the provision of intermodal and terminal services at the ports reflected that they are at times pushed beyond their capacities. They revealed that the cargo handling requirement outstrips the service providers. The cargo handling firms were also quick to point that a lot of profits are realised in the industry. This is attributable to the high demand for these services. Of the 20 foreign firms that took part in the research exercise, 15 of them responded that they never felt under pressure in reference to repatriating their earnings back to the mother countries. On the basis of individual respondents, the customers that are served by the service providers felt that they are offered substandard services at a relatively higher rate. They also felt that it took much time to process for the release of their consignment. 60 percent of these respondents also indicated no bias in their selection of service providers to deal with.
Analysis of Findings
Based on the above findings, it emerges from the research that opportunities exist for investment in the European market and the Aston Investment Masters Company should take this early opportunity to invest in the intermodal and terminal service provision. The fact that the requirement of the services outstrips what the service providers are able to offer is a testament to this. Respondents at individual capacities have also made it clear that they are not choosy on service providers on the basis of origin of the services providers. This is a backdrop against which the Aston Investment Masters group should launch their intentions to enter the European market.
Regulation is commonly viewed as a way of reining on businesses to lay the line requirements. After the study found out that the application of rules and regulations by the European member states are harmonised. It becomes discernable that there is no cause for alarm. The investing environment has been clearly set and the application of regulations is uniform. On the basis of this uniformity, the Aston Investment Masters Company cannot be exempted to unknown regulations. It is therefore advisable that the company studies the regulations and plans to enter the market as it appears to be free and fair.
Political risk entails the threats to the company’s finances and operation of business. In the practice of businesses in the European Union, no member entity raised fears concerning issues with finances and operations of business. It is thus in the interests of the Aston Investment Masters Company to take up the opportunity and reap the benefits of this market. However, it should be noted that there are challenges that may serve to derail the establishment of their business in the region. That notwithstanding, the company has more reasons as to why it should enrol its development plan.
Return on Investments
In the practice of business, all entities with the exception of a few, the goal remains the same, the profit motive. The return on investment reflects the ratio of money that is lost or gained, whether realised or unrealised on an investment in relation to the initial invested sum. The amount that is gained is presumed to represent the profits while the lost amount is taken to be the loss. The invested money is referred to as the asset. The rate of investment is always calculated as a fraction or percentage (Bruce, 2003).
Initially, the value of an investment does not have to be openly calculated in monetary terms. But for the purposes of clarity, an approximation of the amount must be done. In the same breath, the final value is also treated in the same way.
The arithmetic return can be calculated by this formula:
r arith is referred to as the yield, effective interest rate, effective annual rate (EAR) or annual percentage yield (APY).
The logarithmic return:
It is the reciprocal of the e-folding time.
Multi-period average returns
The arithmetic average rate of return:
The arithmetic average rate of return: over n periods is defined as:
The above formulae offer a way in which the return on investment can be calculated. While investing, the Aston Investment Masters Company will have to consider how it stands to gain from the whole venture. It is on this basis that the company will make a decision whether the business is worthy the undertaking or not. However, the rate of return can only be calculated after investments have been made. From this realisation, it can only be speculated by having a look at how companies in the industry are performing. In the study findings, it was realised that the companies operating in the European region were having a big business meaning that there are good returns. On this basis, it is expected that when the company enters the region it will be in a pole position in making ground in business. This is however on assumption that the conditions remain constant. This theorised constancy may however not be obtainable but the venture promises to lead to good business gains.
In carrying out a research, an approval by the Faculty of Education and Extension Research Ethics Board (REB) is mandatory. This is so because the proposed research touches on firms and individuals. There must also be compliance with the set standards by UOFA. All the participants must be notified in advance preferably through an information letter. Consent by the respondents in the form of a confirmation consent form is to be obtained from the clients. A copy for solicitation of participating respondents ought to be kept. Copies of sample interview guides should be kept in the same way for self checking issues. In light of this, reviews of the ethical issues that arise in this research are reviewed.
The aspect of planning the field sample to match with the particular programs of the various companies and individuals that are expected to be the base of respondents is one of the ethical concerns that the researcher must take into account. Which would guarantee that the analysis report does not interfere with the firms’ day-to-day activities. The researcher must therefore ensure that the identities of all companies and persons included in the analysis are held private. Furthermore, the data collected for this analysis will only be used for the purposes mentioned in the research query, and will not be shared with others without the consent of the respondents. Finally, the writer would be responsible for maintaining copyrights by acknowledging all secondary references that would be included in this report.
In a bid to disseminate the research findings from this study, two journals, Public Library Quarterly and Feliciter are selected.
Feliciter is an important choice for disseminating the findings arising from this study. While making the submission to Feliciter, the article is perceived to be likely to place less weight on the research method and more prominence on how the findings form an important component in the aspirations of Aston Investment Masters Company, to school and public libraries and by the provision of service to researching community as a whole. However, apart from the major target audience, which is the Aston Investments Masters Company, it is necessary that other groups of audiences are reached. That is why this article promises to be a useful tool towards publicizing the findings.
Public Library Quarterly, a peer-reviewed journal that looks into best practices and methods to improve service in addition to how new technology is useful in practice (Haworth Press 2005), is another publication that will serve to disseminate the findings though not to the company but to other audiences like researchers. The study that is on proposal has two main components – it shows the viability of investing in Europe in the intermodal sector and at the same time provides crucial information to potential researchers. In this publication, the findings stand to be disseminated to a larger audience. The publication is also indexed in twenty places, a promising feature in dissemination of knowledge.
The Public Library Association (PLA) does hold conferences on a regular basis. It is in these kinds of conferences that the intelligentsia community congregates to take note of new information. This is an indication that if a researcher needs to find a place to shade findings to, then this is the place to get. Given that the conference is held on a yearly basis, it offers a good avenue upon which these findings should be brought for review. Time should be considered in making an application to be accorded the time in moving forward the findings. This is to imply that securing a participation right is crucial. In a nutshell, the findings of this study stand to make inroads towards reaching a bigger audience and thus add to the already existing perspectives on investing in the European region especially in the transport sector.
Several facets of literacy come with limitations. The most important factors are time and financial and material support. As a consequence, the expected and increasing weaknesses should be considered. Limitations can be seen as an alert so that steps may be taken ahead of time to mitigate their effect on the testing process.
The possibility that certain respondents do not have accurate and honest answers is one of the expected shortcomings of this research sample. This drawback has the capacity to reduce the validity and reliability of the field research results significantly. To solve this obstacle, the researcher should ask the respondents to be as honest as possible. Furthermore, the study shall be focused on the concept of voluntary knowledge provision by respondents, reducing the risk of biased data collection. The researcher expects to run into the second limitation, which is a lack of manpower and financial capital. Another drawback that this thesis faces is a time restriction, since this project would take at least one year to complete. The usage of questionnaires in data processing necessitates the use of enumerators. Because of the complexities present with their administration, this is the case. In this regard, the kind of services needed are not readily accessible, which contributes to the high costs. Another difficult part is creating the questionnaires; creating a standardised questionnaire that would be helpful in the data collection process requires experience.
Another significant drawback of the results is that they are based on quantitative characteristics. This implies that respondents can knowingly or unintentionally provide false information on those topics. This can, however, be verified by attempting to harmonize the results. However, since the final harmonised data may represent the researcher’s expectations, even an effort to harmonise may struggle to produce the desired results.
The Aston Investment Masters Company has undergone ups and downs in business. Given the company aspires to expand its provision of services; it would prove a worthwhile venture. Before a proposal is tabled, it was found necessary to carry out a research in order to determine the overall viability of investing in intermodal terminal services in the European region.
The research was conducted during the period between January and December of 2009. On the basis of the findings, there was found to exist opportunities in the transport sector. It was also realised that the company was welcome to the idea of diversification. Given the coincidence, the company is encouraged to forge ahead and roll out an investment in intermodal terminal provision in the European region.
Investing in a new area calls for caution, especially in the light of that, such investments take huge amounts of money. The Aston Investment Masters Company has been performing relatively well. The astronomical levels of success that were witnessed during the 2007 fiscal year are a pointer to this realisation. Having observed this, coupled with the research findings, it would be a worthwhile venture for the company to go ahead and plan an entry into the European market as soon as possible. Of essence is time. This is backed by the fact that as time runs; new competitors would spot the opportunity and make an earlier entry.
After making the realisation that the investment would be a huge consumer of funds, adequate planning needs to be done in order to avoid losses. In order to avoid making huge losses, it is advisable for the company to make sure that before the final investment is rolled out, there must be a pilot project to determine the efficacy of the project. As it is always the case, planning is only one aspect, though important, other factors like major stakeholders’ interests need to be accounted for sufficiently.
The Aston Investment Masters Company has been found to have had a long history in business. Though its fortunes have also been found to be mixed, there is a leaning towards success. As is in the case of all businesses, the company’s aim is to expand its service provision across the globe. This aspiration can only be achieved by the company if it wills to venture into new markets through the diversification strategy. As realised in the paper, the company has been on this path for some time. It is in this view, and on the basis of the research findings that the Aston Investment Masters Company is called upon to launch an investment on intermodal service provision in the European market.
It has been found that the rising nature of demand of intermodal services and the business environment in the European community is an attractive proposition for potential investors. It was also realised that external influences can arise and contrive to derail the operation of business entities. However, there are also alternatives available for investors in such a scenario. This may present a hindrance to businesses, but with good planning, the situation can always be arrested before it affects a business in huge proportions. It is on the basis of this realisation that though the environment is favourable for investment, the decision to venture into the market remains to be made by all concerned stakeholders of the Aston Investment Masters company.
This research has made quite significant findings. Through the use of the scientific methodology, the research findings are believed to reflect on the actual ground by giving the best possible state of affairs. However, it should be noted that no research is prone from errors. In respect to that, it is proposed that further research be carried out on the same. In respect to that, this piece of research should be considered as a possible secondary source of information as it raises key aspects concerning the question at hand.
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