Skip to main content



Intermodality, i.e. interconnecting transport systems, which have to provide door-to-door services, is a key issue of the European Union Common Transport policy. It should allow for a more efficient and sustainable European Transport System, exploiting the characteristics of each transport mode and maximising practical benefits of the users.

During the last decades there has been a very substantial growth in the freight transport sector. This growing demand for transport of goods in Europe has resulted in the present situation, where transport users, operators and public authorities have to deal with increasing problems concerning congestion, environmental impact, accidents and cost-effectiveness.

According to the Transport RTD Work Programme, research on Integrated Transport Chains (or Intermodal Transport) has the objective of increasing the commercial use of effective intermodal operations within Europe.

This task is addressed in the FV-2000 Project taking into consideration the structure and organisation of the transport nodes (called "Freight Villages", "FV") providing services for intermodality, on a European scale. Transport nodes are in fact essential for the efficiency and competitiveness of intermodal solutions, acting as an interface between transport modes and between transport and other logistic operations.

* FV structure:
* OBJECTIVE 1: analysis and evaluation of the impacts of FV lay-outs and operations on the improvement of intermodal transport market share, i.e., determination whether the proximity of different transport and logistic activities is a key factor for improving the use of intermodal transport (integrated vs. non-integrated FVs);
* OBJECTIVE 2: establishment of the merits and limits of the development of Freight Villages for the enhancement of intermodal transport competitiveness; this will be based on benchmarking and analysis of the best practices and case studies;

* FV operations:
* OBJECTIVE 3: establishment of the environmental impact of FVs and intermodal terminals;
* OBJECTIVE 4: definition of guidelines and management tools for the improvement of risk and environment management, working conditions and safety in FVs;
* OBJECTIVE 5: increasing the awareness of FV operators (FV personnel, private transport companies personnel, etc.) with regard to the environment, work safety, quality, risk prevention and assessment.
5 Results and conclusions:

The results of the study, which clearly indicate the importance of freight villages as essential nodes for effective intermodal operations in a European Network, are briefly illustrated here.

5.1 The logistic synergies.
The study, mainly based on a comparative approach (that is on a comparison among different categories of Transport Operators and Freight Villages), has showed that various FV models exist in Europe today, each with its own peculiarities. All the examined Freight Villages play an important role for the development of the freight transport and the economic development of the areas in which they are located.

Among the examined FVs two main models can be highlighted:

* "integrated FVs", which have an intermodal terminal and supply logistic services;
* "non integrated FVs", which don't have an intermodal terminal.

The analysis has demonstrated that the synergies and the proximity of different logistic facilities existing within the first type of FV ("integrated FV"), represent a key factor for the future improvement of the intermodal transport. Both the physical and the functional integration between logistic activities/services and an intermodal terminal have a positive impact on intermodality and increase the competitive advantages of this kind of transport.

This figure, based on the data collected during the interviews addressed to Freight Village Managers, describes the % value of the rate between the total R/R freight flows and the total flows both for integrated and not integrated freight villages.

The ratio between the annual Rail/Road flows and the annual total flows is high and has a growing trend for the integrated Freight Villages: 39.5% in 1992, 48.2% in 1997. A 59.9% value is expected in 2002, that is the expectations of the FV Managers are pronounced. On the contrary, the same parameter is very low and has a decreasing trend if referred to the not integrated Freight Villages (10.7% in 1992, 8.1 in 1997 and 7.5% in 2002).

Furthermore the transport operator average productivity (the rate between the freight flows and the covered warehouse surface) is higher for the companies located inside the FV: 13.4 ton/sqm if the parameter is referred to the total freight flows and 6.0 ton/sqm if we consider the R/R flows.

The same parameter is quite lower when we consider the companies located outside the FV: 11.6 and 3.4 ton/sqm respectively.

5.2 Environment
It is evident from the project that companies situated both inside and outside Freight Villages have similar requirements with regard to environmental and safety issues related to transport operations (air and noise emissions, waste production, water pollution, dangerous substances).

Of particular importance to the transport companies interviewed are a number of services and facilities enabling them to improve the environmental and safety aspects of their management operations. Such amenities include automatic alarm systems in warehouses, protected parking areas for dangerous goods, vehicle & equipment washing facilities and repair services. In this way mobility (and consequently traffic congestion and fumes) is reduced as vehicles no longer have to leave the site in search of certain utilities.

Freight Villages already offer these services resulting in added advantages for resident transport firms and responding to the ever increasing awareness of environmental issues and demand for environment friendly behaviour.

Furthermore, positive aspects derive from the concentration of buildings (more rational land exploitation) and centralised safety management operations such as risk prevention and emergency procedures related to dangerous goods.

Finally, the results of the survey confirm the need for auditing tools and recommendations on the part of transport and logistics companies and highlight the usefulness of such instruments for improving safety and environmental performances.

Percentage of companies which have performed improvement activities as a result of environmental and safety audits.

Freight Villages have a leading role in supporting resident companies in their environmental and safety operations by increasing operators' awareness and by encouraging good practices.

Three management tools have been implemented in order to undertake this task.

The Good Practice Code:

* The Good Practice Code is addressed to Freight Village Managers and it concerns transport and storing operations in Freight Village areas.
* It is a paper document and is available both via Internet and CD-ROM.
* FV Managers find in the Good Practice Code a useful instrument for the improvement of environmental and safety management in FV areas, involving transport and logistic companies.
* The Good Practice Code includes recommendations on communication, training, professional skills and organisation.
* It can help identify environmental and safety aspects, allowing the user to work in conformity with international standards (ISO 14001 and EMAS). Check lists, technical and organisational solutions are proposed.
* Benefits related to the improvement of environmental and safety management are illustrated.

The Decision Support System (DSS)

* This tool is useful in assessing the risks related to the transport and to the loading/unloading of dangerous substances and other inflammable goods.
* The DSS is implemented using ARC VIEW( and has been tested on three Freight Villages involved in the FV-2000 project: Bologna, Barcelona, Paris (Sogaris). Any Freight Village can however adopt it.
* Several utilities are developed and a database of about 160 substances can be used to build accident scenarios. Quantities and storing conditions can be modified.

This image shows the area where 100% of unprotected people would suffer fatal injury in case of a fire involving 200-1000 tons of pesticide (carbofenothion).

The adopted method predicts the worse possible scenario for use in emergency planning.

The Training Software Tool (TST)

* The Training Software Tool is addressed to transport and logistic companies located in Freight Villages.
* Transport and logistic companies will find in the TST information, recommendations, check lists, self-assessment tests for 3 significant environmental and safety aspects related to transport. They will also find examples for the management of dangerous goods in warehouses.
* The TST includes recommendations on communication, training, professional skills, and organisation.
* The TST is useful for improving environmental and safety performances and for initiating the implementation of an Environmental Management System according to international standards.
* It is written out in html( and java( languages to be disseminated by Intranet or by other electronic systems (e.g. CD-ROM).

6 Collaboration sought:
No particular collaboration is requested from outside the project for the exploitation of the project results. The consortium is composed of the main actors of the European intermodal transport system; for this reason they are in the best position for performing the exploitation activities.

7 Exploitation and dissemination plans:
The Good Practice Code (GPC) is one of the tangible results which the FV-2000 consortium has achieved. This useful tool should be distributed as widely as possible (even outside the EU) wherever logistics platforms are being set up (with a translation in their respective mother tongue). A possible distribution could be organised through the national logistics platforms association. On a functional basis the use of the GPC by the directors in charge of the exploitation of the platforms. It is necessary to promote, spread and even explain the best use of the GPC to the logistics community.

At universities and logistic centres and institutions, in the case of Spain the ICIL foundation (The Catalan Logistic Institute) or ILI foundation (The Logistics Institute Latin America), the GPC can be useful as didactic material.

The GPC is a useful document for the clients, logistics platforms and policy makers. Distributing the GPC by subjects, in function of the clients and the risks they are responsible for, provides them with a big security advantage, which may result in obtaining cheaper insurance contracts.

The meaning of GPC for logistics platforms is wider, as for example maintaining security of general stability and management for all clients.

As far as policy makers are concerned, the GPC represents a political advantage, because logistics activities and distribution are carried out in a safe and environmentally - friendly way.

The Decision Support System (DSS) is useful for assessing the risk related to dangerous substances and other materials (tyres, cotton etc.) transport and storage in the Freight Village area.
In this way FV managers are able to evaluate what could be the consequences (i.e. the interested area and warehouses) of an accident (e.g. a fire involving 10.000 tons of tyres or an explosion of a gasoline tank).
In total, about 150 dangerous substances and other material are included in the database.
This software is user friendly and will be widely disseminated among European platforms with a detailed user manual.
Every Freight Village will be able to introduce its map in this tool and to use all its utilities.
A demo is published via internet.
The dissemination can be organised through the national logistics platforms association.

The Training Software Tool (TST) is useful for improving environmental and safety performances and for planning the implementation of an Environmental Management System according to international standards.
The end users of this tool are the transport and logistic companies. The immediate objective of Europlatforms is to promote the environmental and safety management improvement of the companies located in Freight Villages.
The partners-consultants of the FV-2000 project will use their know how to help inside and outside transport companies to improve their performances and to obtain the environmental certification.

The TST has three main objectives:

* To increase the awareness of FV operators (FV personnel, private transport companies personnel, etc.) with regard to the environment, work safety, quality, risk prevention and assessment.
* To increase the capability to implement and to maintain a risk, quality and environment management system.
* To improve the quality of management in the whole FV area.

The commercially exploitable output of FV-2000 is limited to:

* Good Practice Code
* Decision Support System
* Training Software Tool
* Improved know-how for research institutes and consultants.
4 Technical description:
Throughout 1998 the FV-2000 team developed the methodologies on which the project is based and carried out a survey in 7 European countries with some 130 interviews to Freight Village Managers, Transport Operators and Policy Makers. Case studies were made at specific sites and workshops were held in each country to discuss the reality of the freight transport and logistics environment and to propose solutions for increasing intermodality and reaching sustainable mobility, a key issue in the European Union Common Transport Policy.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Eeig Europlatforms
15,Via Altabella
40126 Bologna

Participants (11)

Portal De La Pau 6
8039 Barcelona
Centro Studi sui Sistemi di Trasporto SpA
Corso Re Unberto N 30
10128 Torino

7100 Vejle
Roerdalsvej 201
9220 Aalborg
Autoroute A1
93614 Aulnay-sous-bois
Via Altabella
Rordalsvej 201
9220 Aalborg

94154 Rungis

94514 Rungis
Via Turazza, 28/9
Pipersgatan 27
112 93 Stockholm