Intermodal transport: an effective response to the pandemic & to EU sustainable goals

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Intermodal transport: an effective response to the pandemic & to EU sustainable goals

COVID-19 pandemic has brought huge consequences in many industrial areas, including the transport and logistics sector. Since 2020 road transports suffered extremely long delays, because of the lack of drivers and increasing cross-border restrictions, a situation accentuated in the first quarter of 2022 with the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war. In this scenario, intermodal transport seems to be the most efficient solution to overcome the difficulties of the sector, especially on international routes.

Intermodal transport is a way of handling goods from origin to destination, combining multiple modes of transportation. Even if subjected to longer delivery times, it allows to move large quantities of goods by road, rail, water, or air, by taking advantage of the benefits of each of these means. The resulting advantages are many, i.e., the possibility of transporting goods organised in standard load units, reducing transport costs, as well as the environmental sustainability.

UIRR, the International Union for Road-Rail Combined Transport, claims that intermodal transport alone could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 55% within 2030. In line with European Green Deal, the European Commission aims to move at least 30% of freight traffic over 350 kilometres by rail by 2030, and avoid net greenhouses emissions by 2050, in order to lower the environmental impact.

The promotion of intermodal transport among logistic operators is one of the main objectives of the EU-funded project MultiAPPRO PLUS project, which meets the goals of the European Commission in terms of sustainable mobility. MultiAPPRO PLUS not only strives to make intermodal transport more competitive, but aims to promote freight transport logistics, create a framework to allow Adriatic-Ionian region ports to attract investment for their modernization, and put maritime freight transport on an equal footing with other transport modes.

According to Matteo Codognotto, Marketing & Innovation Group Director at Codognotto – MultiAPPRO PLUS project partner – “companies in the transport and logistics sector are increasingly investing in intermodal transport. Our company is strongly committed to sustainability and has shifted to intermodal transport both nationally and at international level. Today, Codognotto as a group provides its intermodal services in various corridors, such as Italy-Poland by combing road and rail services, Italy-UK by train and ferry, and Italy-Spain using road and sea transports. Considering the high reduction of CO2 emissions thanks to the use of intermodal transport, the company expects to further expand this service even more in 2022. However, there are still several elements that make this transport a challenge, such as careful planning and monitoring of any unforeseen events that may impact the delivery, e.g., transport delays, strikes, weather events. For this reason, it is important to approach intermodal transport also from a technological point of view. In other EU projects, we are studying and testing different possibilities for the synchromodality of transport, which will make intermodal choice even more efficient.”

Author: Alessia Padalino – Innovation & Digital Transformation Specialist at Codognotto Holding, MultiAPPRO PLUS Project Partner