Europe wants to build more intermodal traffic to lessen the region’s truck dependency. But there are many obstacles to reducing road haulage and increasing traffic by rail and short sea.
This year, the Spanish government earmarked about $1 billion (€850 million) to improve rail access to ports, including Barcelona, Valencia and Ferrol. They’re all part of a major push to boost intermodal traffic.
Spain isn’t alone in its efforts. Slovakia, Italy, Poland and France all have projects underway that are designed to heighten use of intermodal rail for moving freight, as do many other countries in the EU. Add to those efforts to bolster intermodal hubs for short-sea shipping and inland waterways.
“There are a number of projects around Europe,” said Richard Morton, managing director of Jura Associates, a UK ports, maritime and logistics consultancy.
The reason for this push: intermodal is seen as one important way to counter the growing preeminence of road-based freight.
Trucking now dominates freight movements in Europe. According to a European Parliament study released in May, less than 12% of European Union freight was transported by rail, as of 2014, the latest year data was available. Road haulage, by contrast, topped 50%...
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