City Distribution and Urban Freight Transport

City Distribution and Urban Freight Transport

Multiple Perspectives

NECTAR Series on Transportation and Communications Networks Research

Edited by Cathy Macharis and Sandra Melo

City distribution plays a key role in supporting urban lifestyles, helping to serve and retain industrial and trading activities, and contributing to the competitiveness of regional industry. Despite these positive effects, it also generates negative (economic, environmental and social) impacts on cities worldwide. Relatively little attention has been paid to these issues by researchers and policymakers until recently. The analyses found in City Distribution and Urban Freight Transport aim to improve knowledge in this important area by recognizing and evaluating the problems, with a focus on urban freight transport systems.

Chapter 10: The Use of Rail Transport as Part of the Supply Chain in an Urban Logistics Context

Jochen Maes and Thierry Vanelslander

Subjects: environment, transport, geography, cities, urban and regional studies, cities, transport, urban studies


Jochen Maes and Thierry Vanelslander INTRODUCTION In Western Europe, the rail freight industry has been liberalized during recent years. The number of actors multiplies, the network connections of railroad and intermodal logistics companies grow, and new actors enter the market. European rail freight has been liberalized mainly on the initiative of the European Commission by Directive 91/440. This directive called for separated accounting structures between network provider and operational activities. The right to operate first international and later national freight trains came afterwards. However, different market structures were implemented as national member states of the European Union were responsible for the implementation of the new legal framework. As a result, some countries had anticipated the liberalization; others delayed as long as possible. The liberalization had a major impact on the former state-owned monopolistic rail companies (the incumbents) and logistics actors using them. New market possibilities arose, but more actors now need to collaborate. This chapter explores new logistics concepts involving rail transport in Western Europe now in the trial – or investigation – phase (Lewis et al., 2002; Maes et al., 2008). This chapter will deal with the use of rail transport as part of the supply chain in an urban logistics context. The link will be made between two research subjects: the economic and ecological viability of rail or intermodal transport, and the logistics capacity problems in an urban context, the latter of which is a growing research stream. A part of this chapter will build on research conducted, among others,...

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