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Content archived on 2024-06-12

Innovative Rail Intermodal Services


The IRIS project addresses task 1 'Integrated demonstration project of innovative intermodal door-to-door freight services on short and medium distances' of the DG VII/DG XIII Joint Call for Proposals under FP4.

The overall objective of the project is "to demonstrate the feasibility of intermodal transport on short and medium distances and to derive aspects which make this kind of transport a success" which follows the task objective as stated in the Joint Call documentation: "to demonstrate the actual possibilities and limits of making intermodal freight transport more attractive on short and medium distances, and to identify the conditions for making it viable". By means of the three demonstrators, different relevant technical, operational and organisational aspects, which will make this kind of transport an economic success, will be implemented, demonstrated and evaluated.

The project and its results will show - on the basis of the three demonstrators - how this truck-dominated field of transport, namely on short and medium distances, can be exploited by intermodal rail transport. In this respect, the project approach contributes to the policy of the CEC to increase the use of intermodal transport in comparison to the modal approach, to achieve sustainability of transport by a more balanced utilisation of capacities and, as a consequence, to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of the European economy.

Three demonstrators, one in the Belgium-German-Dutch hinterland of the seaports Antwerp and Zeebruge, the second in Great Britain in the short and medium distance area of Southampton, and the third in Italy, linking Genoa with the inland terminals in Padova and Bologna will be used as test cases and evaluation pilots, i.e. as backbone for the evaluation of different technical, organisational and administrational aspects to be investigated. The pilot demonstrators will be developed on the basis of existing transport relations and business contacts of the operational consortium partners and on former project results. Each of them comprises the development and application of pragmatic and transferable aspects for an improvement of intermodal transport on short and medium distances.
The IRIS project is a sequel to the OSIRIS project. The latter was exclusively investigating transports to and from seaports. IRIS now is based on these results while it seeks for transfers, applications and demonstrations with respect to a wider range of services, technologies and geographical coverage. Findings from the OSIRIS project state that intermodal transports these days can only be economically succesful if - the container flows of a transport chain are bundled before they are transported along the long-distance segment of the chain (e.g. as a group within a multi-section train) or, - additional performances within the transport chain can be brought in that help to overcompensate the scale of additional rail- /terminal- / and pre- and end-haulage charges. All these findings and market observations directly relate to the Communication from the Commission (COM(97) 243) on 'Intermodality and Intermodal Freight Transport' which states that "A number of obstacles have been identified which prevent the extensive use of intermodal transport.". Several examples are given that are even more valid for intermodal transport on short and medium distances.

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Stumpfstrasse 1
76131 Karlsruhe

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Participants (17)