The modal shift potential of intermodal line-trains from a haulier’s perspective - Drivers and barriers in the mode choice process
Conference contribution, 2011
Intermodal line-trains operating in corridor network designs are regularly promoted a means for intermodal transport to compete on transport costs and time with all-road transport for distances shorter than 500km. The purpose of this paper is to identify existing drivers and barriers to the usage of time and cost competitive intermodal in the decision making process of road hauliers who in many cases make the modal choice, i.e. deciding whether to outsource long-distance haulage to rail as an alternative to producing road haulage itself.
This paper addresses the complexity of the mode choice that is often stressed in mode choice literature but more seldom explained. It looks into the potential of using an intermodal line-train for the long-distance transport of consolidated cargo between a forwarder’s terminals. In a multiple case study, the operations of four hauliers contracted by two forwarders in Sweden for the long-distance transport on two domestic routes (Göteborg – Malmö and Örebro – Stockholm) are assessed. In semi-structured interviews with four hauliers and two forwarders the drivers and barriers in the mode choice process for a modal shift are analysed.
The results indicate that consolidated cargo is generally suitable for intermodal transport, but for outsourcing the long-distance haulage to rail the road hauliers face significant obstacles. The main barriers are a vehicle fleet that is not adapted for rail transport as well as small transport volumes and time-intensive terminal access that do not allow efficient PPH. Hence, in the current industry structure the modal shift potential for consolidated cargo is limited. New business models may be needed to reach transport volumes that allow efficient PPH operations, which in turn may lead to reduced business for road hauliers.