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Intermodal and Combined Transport portals & statistics

Combined Transport (CT) joins at least two modes of transport to perform a transport operation. Cargo is packed into an Intermodal Loading Unit (ILU), which may be a container, swap-body or (craneable) semi-trailer. The ILU is passed from one mode to another at specialised handling locations i.e. sea and CT dry inland port terminals. CT growth for 2015 show rather broad figures.

Domestic CT connections are averaging a distance of +/- 500km, which was the least successfully delivering an annual decline (-5%) in tonne/KM for the second year in a row. However, a gradual increase in average distance from 425km to 505km has been noted. The number of consignments proved a growth of +0.75%. Rather specific developments concerned cross-border traffic growth of +7.6% tonne/KM, also intercontinental CT of +27%. Short-haul is where road competition affects CT the most strongly, according to UIRR member figures.

CT has the potential to deliver sustainable advantages compensating the added complexity in terms of speed, safety performance, energy efficiency, CO2 emission, air pollution, noise, accidents and optimal infrastructure use. It takes a different kind of preparation and organisation. The European Commission evaluated the CT Directive (92/106) entailing common rules for the promotion of CT. It was concluded CT helped save up to 2 billion euros in external costs in 2011 alone.

Concerning port – hinterland investments, a survey on upcoming container terminal expansions shows that within Europe extra capacity of 36.100.000 TEU is planned until the end of 2017 and an additional 33.400.000 TEU until the end of 2020, according to BOX Intermodal & Containers magazine. While maritime container traffic grew in average by 5.6% annually in Europe since 2000, Turkey achieved 13% annual growth rates, with container throughput growing from 1.500.000 TEU in year 2000 towards 8.350.000 TEU in 2014. However, in Europe still every second container is handled in ports in Northern Europe (52%), with Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg being the old bulls on the continent. But also the UK has high ambitions with their World Gateway in London (+2.100.000 TEU capacity between 2014-2016). Capacity expansion covering Southampton, Felixstowe and Liverpool results in 4.080.000 TEU till the end of 2017 (+40% related to current container handling). All these figures are backed up DS Research ‘Container Terminal Project Pipeline 2015’.

Combined Transport and Intermodal Portals:

– UIRR Report 2015-16 containing members’ performance, description of circumstances, challenges CT: http://www.uirr.com/en/media-centre/annual-reports/annual-reports/mediacentre/779-uirr-annual-report-2015-16.html

– Last-mile infrastructure for rail freight, specifically on rail freight access points: http://railfreightlocations.eu

– Intermodal Planner combining time schedules of rail, barge and short sea operators and selecting intermodal connections:  https://intermodallinks.com/Planner/

– Intermodal & Green Logistics freight best practices project portal: http://www.bestfact.net/best-practices/cl2_greenlogistics_comodality/

– Intermodal specialised magazine including recent market developments, statistics, innovations and policies in three languages: http://box-intermodal-containers.com

Peter Wolters/09-06-2016

This article was posted on June 9th, 2016 by ESC under News