Globalized Freight Transport

Globalized Freight Transport

Intermodality, E-Commerce, Logistics and Sustainability

Transport Economics, Management and Policy series

Edited by Thomas R. Leinbach and Cristina Capineri

The worldwide movement of freight has emerged as one of the most critical and dynamic aspects of the transport sector. The contributors to this study examine the current state of global freight transport, with an emphasis on Europe and North America and their extra-regional linkages. These original contributions synthesize existing knowledge, highlight new developments, problems and possible solutions, and underscore the need for further research.

Chapter 3: Intermodal Freight Transport in Europe

Michael Beuthe

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


Michel Beuthe INTRODUCTION During the past few decades, freight transport has been on the increase throughout Europe for a number of well-known reasons: economic growth in many countries, market globalization underpinned by trade liberalization that allows economies of scale, technological progress and production specialization that also led to economies of scale, the development of central distribution centres as ‘hubs’ that relay the global production process and organize the spatial distribution over large areas and, finally, the relatively low cost of transport in the organization of production and distribution. The strong growth in freight transport is putting such a strain on the various modal networks, particularly on rail and road networks, that at certain points their capacity is no longer adequate. In addition, the very strong growth in road freight transport causes pollution of various kinds as well as congestion at the expense of private cars. It is also making Europe’s roads more dangerous. The problem is becoming more acute every year and is likely to be solved only by using a range of remedial measures: better land-use planning of economic activities, the construction of new infrastructure and a variety of regulatory and pricing measures that may help to moderate traffic flows to some extent and to induce a more efficient use of infrastructure by taking into account the transports’ external costs. In that respect, these measures could also channel freight towards modes and combinations of modes with less environmental and social nuisance. However, these alternative transport solutions may...

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