Good Practices Manual for the Management of Intermodal Terminals

An increasing number of intermodal terminals in Europe, which are often also key for domestic and international networks of intermodal services, are confronted with saturated transshipment capacity, relatively low efficiency or insufficient quality. These bottlenecks – like the capacity constraints on major sections of the European rail network – are hampering or even jeopardizing the otherwise possible growth of combined transport volumes. Furthermore, actors in intermodal transport note a higher customer demand for environmentally friendly transport solutions and growing popularity of transport-pollution-emission tools, better known as “green logistics”.

We are aware of the fact that enlargement investments in intermodal terminals or the building of new sites, for various reasons such as planning period, times for approvals or budget restrictions, though necessary at any rate, would not be sufficient to remove the constraints. With this present study we have collected numerous “soft” measures generally not requiring large infrastructure investments that are suitable for enabling a considerable increase of the transshipment capacity, improve the efficiency and quality of terminal processes at congested intermodal terminals.

A couple of typical measures have been investigated by KombiConsult and discussed with intermodal operators, railways and in particular operators of about 80 combined transport terminals in Europe. The present “Good Practices Manual” is principally based on the DIOMIS Report “Best practices for the management of combined transport terminals“, published in 2007, which primarily concentrated on the capacity-increasing measures. Now, these and other good practices have been explored more deeply and in addition, new measures have been included in the present survey.

We have determined that a conventional “book” is not an appropriate means of publication for “good practices” and therefore chosen the form of a structured manual, where single chapters could be added more easily and improved if needed. The AGORA website offers the opportunity to open access to the manual and its chapters.

1. Objectives and Methodology

This manual presents the investigated measures and their effects on the four main objectives to:

  • Increase capacity of existent infrastructure;
  • Use the existent infrastructure more efficiently;
  • Improve quality of service; and
  • Draw on natural resources and impact on environment.

Each measure has been analyzed according to the following structure:

  • Short description of the action
  • Prerequisites and implementation steps
  • Impacts and benefits regarding the four main objectives
  • Associated costs
  • Main parties involved
  • Eventual conflict of objectives
  • References

2. Measures which are primarily increasing capacity

Further measures will be added continuously, and present chapters might be updated during AGORA project duration.

3. Measures which are primarily increasing efficiency

Further measures will be added continuously.