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Published: 20 January 2013      

European combi on the up

The latest UIC report shows that overall combined transport in Europe increased by almost 29% between 2005 and 2011 and has recovered well from the 2008-9 economic downturn

The 2012 Report on Combined Transport in Europe was commisioned by the UIC from KombiConsult. Previous editions published in 2006, 2008 and 2010 concerned the years 2005, 2007 and 2009 respectively. This report looks at the figures for 2011 and compares them with the previous results.

In summary, total combined transport came to 19.1M TEU in 2011, compared to 14.8M TEU in 2005 (+28.9%), 18.3M TEU and 16.6M TEU in 2009. Domestic unaccompanied volumes (almost 65% of which was shipping containers to and from seaports in 2011) totalled 10.9M TEU in 2011, while cross-border unaccompanied volumes (65% of which was swap bodies and trailers in 2011) came to almost 7.2M TEU.

Domestic accompanied combined transport (RoLa and AFA) totalled 347,530 TEU in 2011 (5.42M gross tonnes), which was 20% less than in 2009. Cross-border (mostly transalpine) accompanied combined transport totalled 662,650 TEU (9.45M gross tonnes), which was 13.1% more than in 2009.

"The results are a clear indication of how buoyant the combined transport industry is," stated the Paris-based UIC. The chairman of the UIC combined transport group, Eric Lambert, has invited all industry stakeholders to join its working structures, particularly in the context of the implementation of EU Regulation 913/2010 on rail freight corridors.

  • Switzerland-based Hupac, Europe's second biggest combi-operator, has reported that it transported a total of 646,214 unaccompanied road shipments (ie around 1.3M TEU equivalent) in 2012, a decrease of 10.7% on its figure for 2011. It ascribed the fall in traffic to the weakness of the European economy, particularly in Italy, its biggest origin/destination market, various disruptions on the Gotthard Line and stronger competitive pressures from all-road. "Price increases, such as those currently seen in the areas of railway infrastructure, energy and wagon maintenance, could slow down the development of intermodal transport," warned Hupac's managing director, Bernhard Kunz. "The transport market is under a great deal of pressure. We are cautious in our forecasts for 2013."

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