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Friday 19 May 2006, by Aymeric Boniou

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Improving the use of available train length


The available train length could often be better used. According to the experience of KombiConsult and Kessel+Partner (K+P), non-optimum use of maximum train capacity is due to technical parameters but also to poor operational capacity management.
As far as this issue is concerned, it has to be borne in mind that capacity management is influenced by the contractual relationship between the RU and the intermodal operator. Therefore three models will have to be taken into account:
the railway takes the risk with regard to train capacity
the operator takes the risk
the capacity of a train is shared by several operators.

Improving the use of available train length (Workpackage A5).

Intermodal Combined Transport Production systems, including long and heavy trains


One of the greatest challenges for international combined transport is to consolidate volumes to feed the most efficient type of rail production, so that a daily service can be operated in both directions. In the past, various production systems have been tested with different results. Since the choice of production system depends not only on volume but also on the business model selected, it is useful to report on the most suitable production system in relation to each market.
This work package deals with two subsequent issues.
How to achieve production systems which allow for bundling volumes on less than full trainload origin-destination pairs
How to find methods to transport more ITU or gross tonnage in the same train on heavily loaded rail infrastructure.

International Combined Transport Production Systems including long and heavy trains (workpackage A7).

Assessing new technologies in the wagon field


The rail industry has CT wagons and technologies on offer, which have not yet been properly referenced in terms of their technical potential or limitations with respect to the relief of infrastructure bottlenecks. An inventory of existing wagons together with an analysis of the key features of each wagon is thus required.

Assessing new technologies in the wagon field (Workpackage A10).

Best Practices for the management of CT Terminals, including extension of CT Terminal opening times


Operators of European Combined transport terminals, which were designed to accommodate specific services and an expected volume of shipments, very often find themselves in a situation where the terminal’s capacity is saturated and the layout and process organisation can no longer cope with service requirements. Typically, operators try to find practical solutions to reduce obstacles on a short-term basis. They tend to “muddle through†instead of bringing about a fundamental change in the situation.
On the other hand individual terminal operators all over Europe have developed advanced terminal control and management systems (best practices). But the problem is that this knowledge has not been disseminated elsewhere which has hampered the development of equally high performing terminals for international CT services.

Best practices for the management of combined transport terminals (Workpackage A4).

International Co-ordination of terminal development


An intermodal service involves at least two combined transport terminals. Any capacity limitation on one end of the route could adversely affect the quality of the entire service. Conversely, international CT services would be enhanced if the capacity limitations were identified jointly and improvement measures such as increasing capacity, extending existing terminals or building new ones were internationally co-ordinated.

International co-ordination of combined transport terminal development (workpackage A8).

Trends in domestic combined transport


The UIC Capacity Study dealt with international combined transport but explicitly excluded an in-depth analysis of the future development of domestic CT services in European countries and their impact on the rail infrastructure network. For some countries this is likely to be of minor relevance since domestic combined transport is supposed to continue to be a “quantité négligeable†owing to the nature of the transport market or regional economic factors. In other European countries, domestic combined transport currently does play or in future may play a significant role and achieve a volume of shipments and trains, which is relevant for the infrastructure capacity utilisation factor.

Trends in domestic combined transport (Workpackage A1).

Periodical reports on the combined transport situation in Europe


Between the AT Kearney Study and the recent UIC "Capacity Study" 15 years had passed during which there was no overview of combined transport in Europe as concerns the actual volume of overall CT shipments, the development of market structures and the assessment of future developments. The preliminary Study showed an important need for such material to steer political, infrastructure and strategic decisions, and to facilitate further growth of combined transport in Europe.

Report on Combined Transport in Europe 2005 (Workpackage A11).

CT Master plan with a 2015 time frame


The idea is to draw on the findings of each work package in order to establish a Combined Transport Master Plan for 2015.
The objective of the master plan is to:
achieve productivity gains regarding the infrastructure utilisation factor
encourage new types of co-operation between all the stakeholders in combined transport
describe and help implement optimal capacity management models at terminal levels
adapt and improve railway operating practices
demonstrate the advantages of having an international approach towards planning and production
demonstrate how to achieve CT growth on a saturated and shared railway infrastructure.


Report on Combined Transport 2007

- After the report for 2005, the report for 2007 issued key facts and figures for combined transport and broadened the scope of the report to :

  • give a full coverage of countries and operators
  • improve the quantification of data on revenues and sector employment
    - elaborate an “intermodal industry barometer†.
2007 Report on Intermodal Rail-Road Transport in Europe

New EU member states

- The presentation of the A1 report (detailed analysis in selected countries of the development of combined transport and how it impacts on infrastructure capacity) led to numerous questions about the situation in new EU member states. Therefore we investigated how combined transport could develop in relevant CEE countries.
- The module focused on the following countries: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland
- More specifically, the module did :

    • Look at current markets with regard to national and international combined transport
    • Assess the development trends, opportunities and barriers in these countries
    • Analyse and determine the requirements to enhance domestic and international combined transport
    • Elaborate growth scenarios at 2015 horizon
    • Advise on strategic decisions of CT stakeholders
    • Assess terminal capacity and wagon need
    • Assess impact on infrastructure network both in the selected countries and in central Europe
New EU Member States_Management Report
Report on Croatia
Report on Czech Republic
Report on Hungary
Report on Romania
Report on Bulgaria
Report on Slovenia
Report on Slovakia

Rolling stock

- The 2004 UIC Capacity Study, the A1 and A4 reports described above show the massive growth for combined transport which can be expected on the rail network.
- Yet, it is known that investments in rolling stock are stagnating.
- Too, manufacturers are more and more reluctant to invest into research and development activities and design and test improved wagon prototypes without having a firm commitment from a customer.
- Therefore we analysed what investments are required and in what time frame in order to accompany the forecast modal shift.
- Financing models and management models including pooling models like the TTX operation in the USA, are examined.

2005 / 2015 Report on Intermodal Rolling Stock in Europe

EU-US Benchmarking

- KombiConsult and K+P Consultants have carried out an in depth benchmarking analysis of the American and European Combined transport sector.
- This analysis focuses on:

    • Business models
    • Marketing approach
    • Rail production
    • Information management
    • Equipment technology
    • Liability schemes
    • Terminal management
    • Wagon management
    • Procurement process
      - The reason behind this module is the great misunderstanding there is regarding the ways of workings of both systems. Whilst some aspects can be transferred from one system to the other, some others are not, but their differences need to be understood.
      - This module has the merit of doing a concrete and extensive analysis of best practices with benchmarking potential, and give concrete and practical answers to a lot of unfounded beliefs.
Benchmarking Intermodal Rail Transport in the United States and Europe