How to catch up with the West in intermodal transport

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Intermodal transport is the hot topic in the TFL sector. Everyone knows that it is more ecological than road transport. While the latter in Poland is the envy of the whole Europe, intermodal transport in our country is 10 years behind Western countries. However we are able to change it!

Contemporary intermodal transport in Poland means mostly transporting containers from or to sea ports. Nevertheless, it is not enough to catch up with Western Europe. We must make the slogan "Trucks on tracks!" come true. For many years now our continent has been witnessing successful transport of trailers by rail (and not only on such obvious routes like across the Alps).

TRUCKS ON TRACKS - BUT HOW?

To achieve this form of transport on a large scale, large investments are necessary and the lack thereof means that in Poland, rail transport of trailers and 45'PW containers (45-feet pallet-wide containers) is a decade behind Western countries, where it has become a commonplace. 

Rail transport of trailers requires appropriate equipment and prepared terminals. The trailer alone must be adjusted for vertical loading and it must have reinforced chassis.  It is quite an investment for the road carrier. On the other hand, the rail carrier must have appropriate carriages. Nowadays we are talking about carriages for transporting mega-trailers.

Trends indicate the increase in the transport of such units as huckepack trailers and 45'PW containers. It is connected with the expansion of intermodal transport to cargo traditionally carried by road.  In particular the transport of trailers has been growing in the recent years, which is partly the consequence of economics and partly of the European Union policy.

Many EU Member States are adjusting their regulations in order to put intermodal transport in a privileged position. The permissible mass of a tractor-trailer set travelling up to 150 km from an intermodal terminal may reach even 44 tons and not 40 tons like in conventional road transport. This allows customers to better utilize loading space by increasing the profitability of each individual transport. 

HOW IT IS DONE IN RABEN GROUP

Raben Group is investing in intermodal solutions and offering new products to its Customers. One of them is the intermodal line connecting Poland and Spain. Cargo of our Customers is transported in 45'PW containers, which gives the same loading capacity as a conventional trailer (33 Eur-pallets, 24 tons of cargo), however most of the distance is covered by rail. Only short sections in Poland and in Spain are serviced by road. Another investment of Raben Transport are huckepack trailers which have reinforced the company fleet. During the year the number of trailers will be growing, which will make intermodal solutions a part of everyday operational service for the Customers.

Intermodal transport has become a fact for logistics operators and their customers. It is very positive. However, there is still much work ahead. In Poland we can catch up with, or even overtake, the solutions which exist in other countries of the European Union. Since we can be the spear of road transport, we can also handle intermodal transport.

12.04.2016
Aleksandra Kocemba

Aleksandra Kocemba

Intermodal Transport Manager

Intermodal Transport Manager at Raben Transport. Works in logistics since 2008. Author of many publications about intermodal transport.

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