Intermodal Freight Transport

Chapter 3: Intermodal Developments in the UK

Overview

It is widely accepted that Europe has traditionally been ahead of the UK in the development and application of intermodal transport, being well supplied with strong national rail systems, an extensive inland waterways network and a burgeoning road haulage industry; whereas in the UK, until quite recently according to the Department for Transport (DfT) in its publication, Transport Statistics for Great Britain 2004, our railways and inland waterways have been in decline leaving a freight market heavily dominated by road haulage in 2002 accounting for no less than 62 per cent of all goods moved (i.e. the weight lifted multiplied by the distance carried) and 82 per cent of all goods carried.

However, since the early 1990s the situation in the UK has changed somewhat with the Government, in particular, taking up the reins, so to speak, and increasingly campaigning on environmental grounds, for a switch of a freight from road to more sustainable modes of transport such as rail, inland waterway, and short-sea shipping. Since that time it has been possible to see the development of UK intermodal freighting as being attributed to a number of key factors which can be identified as having provided the essential impetus. For example, there has been the build-up of UK European trade following the opening of the Single European Market in 1993. This was followed by the opening, in 1994, of the Channel Tunnel which, by directly linking the UK and European road and rail networks, has provided scope...

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