The Future of Intermodal Freight Transport

The Future of Intermodal Freight Transport

Operations, Design and Policy

Transport Economics, Management and Policy series

Edited by Rob Konings, Hugo Priemus and Peter Nijkamp

This book explores the great challenge of increasing the scope of intermodal freight transport. In view of the current dominant role of road transport and the increasing difficulties in coping with a growing number of vehicles in an efficient and sustainable way, intermodal freight transport could be considered a viable alternative. However, the book makes recognition of the fact that there is still a need to improve the performance of the intermodal transport system.

Chapter 2: Intermodal Road–Rail Transport in the European Union

Johan Woxenius and Fredrik Bärthel

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, environment, transport, urban and regional studies, transport

Extract

Johan Woxenius and Fredrik Bärthel INTRODUCTION 2.1 An intermodal freight transport system is characterized by the subsequent use of different traffic modes for moving goods stowed into an intermodal loading unit (ILU) from the consignor to the consignee. It involves a wide variety of activities, actors and resources, which implies a certain degree of technological as well as organizational complexity. Other features are the derived demand, dependency on surrounding activity systems and in Europe a typical lack of formal systems management as well as of objectives shared by all actors. European intermodal road–rail freight transport (EIT) is regarded by many as the universal solution to a wide range of problems related to road freight transport as well as to the financial problems of national railway freight operations. The European Commission estimates that external effects from road transport in the EU cost €250 billion annually, of which half relates to congestion. As an example, Van Schijndel and Dinwoodie (2000) claim that 10 per cent of lorry operating time in the Netherlands is spent in congested conditions. Supporting words have been abundant and a truly wide range of political instruments have been used for promoting EIT but they have still not created a truly level playing field for competition with road transport. On the contrary, political promises that were not delivered have caused disillusion within the industry although initiatives like the Marco Polo Programme, the German road toll (the LKW Maut) and the French subsidy to forwarders...

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