Operations, Design and Policy
Edited by Rob Konings, Hugo Priemus and Peter Nijkamp
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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