Intermodal Freight Transport

Chapter 2: UK and EU Policies for Intermodal Transport

The development of intermodal freight transport, as indeed with all other forms of transport, is significantly influenced by the official policies of both individual national governments and, collectively, of the European Union (EU) via the European Commission (EC). Without such a driving force keeping the inertia moving forward it seems likely that the progress we are currently seeing in intermodalism, as opposed to single-mode transport operation, would hardly be noticeable. Commercial arguments alone appear insufficient to propel growth in this sector, so it is down to official persuasion on account of the environmental and humanitarian (i.e. anti-pollution, anti-noise, anti-traffic congestion, and road accident reduction) benefits of modal switch, plus a certain amount of encouragement by way of financial grants to aid the development of suitable terminal facilities for modal transfer, to provide the incentive for change. An understanding of the policies set out in the various documents outlined in this chapter will provide a useful background to the way in which intermodalism has developed, and to the technical and operational characteristics of this form of transport and its constituent individual modal ingredients.

2.1 UK Government Policy

For many years transport policy in the UK was obsessed first with nationalization and then with privatization, and the issues of deregulation and fair competition. There was little in the way of practical effort to secure a better transport system better for users of transport services and better for the population that has to live with the consequences of an inadequate transport system.

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