Chapter 4: Intermodal Transport in Europe
Mainland Europe could be called the heartland of freight intermodalism; principally because of the extensive use that is made of combined road rail transport and inland and short-sea shipping (SSS) across the whole of the Continent, but particularly within the 25 Member States of the European Union (EU). With extensive inter-continental rail systems and a large network of commercially navigable inland waterways, Europe has the essential infrastructure necessary to facilitate the switch of freight from its heavily congested road systems on to these more environmentally friendly transport modes.
By far the biggest development Europe-wise in recent times has been the enlargement of the EU which took effect from 1 May 2004 when the then 15 Member States increased to 25 (i.e. from EU15 to EU25 in Brussels terminology) with the inclusion of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. These additional states, apart from Cyprus and Malta, neither of which have a terrestrial connection with mainland Europe, are mainly former communist countries from Eastern Europe, which with their combined population of 105-million people, are expected to significantly bolster intra-European trade and importantly boost the two-way flows of cross-border transport: a growth figure of 38 50 per cent has been suggested by Groupe Transport Combin (GTC), a body within the International Union of Railways (UIC).
This additional traffic is likely to be predominantly road-borne in the early stages since these new Member States are unlikely as yet to have had the opportunity or encouragement (or...