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Rail News Home Intermodal

9/3/2004



Rail News: Intermodal

European freight volume growth hinges on infrastructure capacity, International Union of Railways' study says


In a recent white paper, the European Commission projected 38 percent growth in intra-European freight volumes for all transportation modes during the next 10 years, and an 8 percent to 15 percent increase in freight-rail market share alone by 2020.

Leading the charge to that growth will be intermodal — or international rail-road combined transport business as it's referred to in Europe — which more than doubled in volume between 1988 and 2002 to 44 million tons.

But to reach the commission's growth projections, transportation companies will have to ensure they have adequate infrastructure capacity, and offer customized and market-competitive services — conclusions reached in a new "Study on Infrastructure Capacity Reserves for Combined Transport by 2015," which was commissioned by the International Union of Railways' (UIC) Combined Transport Group.

Conducted by a consortium comprising Kessel&Partner Consultants,
Kombiconsult and MVA, the study identifies measures that need to be implemented by various transportation-sector stakeholders, such as policy makers, railroads and infrastructure managers, to enable the European rail system to accommodate increasing volumes and modal shifts by 2015.

Supported by the International Union of Rail-Road Companies, the study attempts to analyze intermodal volume and structure using 2020 as a reference year, project rail traffic by commodity up to 2015, review planned infrastructure improvements and intermodal terminals on key European freight-rail corridors through 2015, and recommend needed infrastructure investments and ways to maximize the use of existing capacity. The consortium studied the capacity of 18 trans-European freight corridors and 30 terminal areas, which handle about 80 percent of the European transportation network's traffic.

The study recommends that railroads and other transportation companies:
• implement planned infrastructure improvements — especially for railroad infrastructure — between now and 2015;
• focus improvements on eliminating bottlenecks;
• build dedicated freight lines, including a priority freight-rail network;
• avoid dismantling of flyovers, which currently are under-utilized;
• increase train length; and
• improve service reliability.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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