Intermodality, E-Commerce, Logistics and Sustainability
Edited by Thomas R. Leinbach and Cristina Capineri
Chapter 3: Intermodal Freight Transport in Europe
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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