About Agora Marco Polo Project (2009-2010)

Intermodal terminals are key to access intermodal transport services and thus ensure efficient and road-competitive supply chains throughout Europe. Various surveys recently carried out on a domestic or European level, amongst them the DIOMIS report published by UIC, have identified considerable handling capacity bottlenecks of key European terminals particularly with regard to the expected growth of combined rail/road transport in Europe. According to these studies volumes may easily more than double by 2015. Yet these prospects would be threatened if sufficient handling capacities were not provided on time. It goes without saying that, given the growth, major enlargement investments (“hard measures”) will be required. The studies, however, equally emphasized additional “smart measures” to ensure the expected evolution of combined transport.

The present common learning action seeks to address the latter issue. As a result this action aims at improving management capabilities of intermodal terminal operators throughout Europe and increasing capacity by a set of innovative, smart operational measures and the involvement of users. It is also set to creating awareness of terminal capacity enlargement needs and contributing to a more effective intermodal transport in Europe by improving know-how and experience and sharing it with all intermodal stakeholders: terminal and intermodal operators, railway undertakings, customers e.g. shippers and logistic service providers, and infrastructure managers. Hereby the action matches the Marco Polo objectives concerning the improvement of co-operation among stakeholders and dissemination of results. The action will create a “Good practice manual on efficient terminal management”, a website, training courses, and seminars with stakeholders including intermodal business actors as well as national and European transport administrations.

The consortium is composed of intermodal terminal and intermodal transport operators from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and The Netherlands under the leadership of RailCargoAustria’s business unit “Terminal Services”, Austria, that have committed to this action. They represent about one third of central European handling volume.

Since the project is designed similar to the ancient Greek market place for the exchange of ideas the acronym AGORA has been selected.