Combined transport terminals which were designed for specific services and expected volume of shipments often find themselves in a situation where the terminal’s capacity is saturated and the layout and process organisation can no longer cope with the increasing service requirements. The customers are requesting an efficient terminal operation in order balance between the different road and the rail operations modalities. They further require a neutral and discrimination free operation, which respects their own business interests as road haulier, intermodal or rail operator. Individual terminal operators all over Europe have developed advanced terminal management systems, but this knowledge has not been disseminated elsewhere, which has hampered the development of equally high performing terminals for international combined transport services.
This common learning action is therefore targeting the improvement of management, operation and services of, in particular, intermodal rail-road terminals for unaccompanied intermodal transport units (semi-trailers, swap bodies and containers), but the consortium represents the whole landscape of such terminals located in seaports (Antwerp, Rotterdam), ferry ports (Lübeck), inland ports (e.g. Duisburg, Neuss, Linz) and continental sites (e.g. Köln, Wien, Graz, Budapest, Bologna). The terminals offer a variety of services and are linked to each other and third parties by intermodal services. The project is aiming at a better use of the existing terminal infrastructure. It is neither a research nor study project but addressing the mutual exchange of good practices between terminal managers, and common learning about the improved interaction with other actors in the intermodal transport chain. It can contribute to the standardisation of procedures, reduction of costs and thereby optimize the intermodal transport chain. Since each intermodal transport service requires at least two terminal handlings the impact of any improvement in terminals is fundamental for a modal shift. The measures developed in the framework of AGORA are qualified to contribute to a further increase of intermodal transport in Europe.