Intermodal transport and multimodal logistics – making modes complementary in greening transport (own-initiative opinion)

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Notatka informacyjna: Intermodal transport and multimodal logistics – making modes complementary in greening transport (own-initiative opinion)

Practical information:

  • Composition of Study Group
  • Administrator: Erika PAULINOVA; Assistant: Dániel MAKAY
  • Foreseen for TEN Section meeting: 24 June 2021
  • Foreseen for EESC Plenary meeting: 7-8 July 2021


Despite significant measures taken to promote intermodal transport under the Combined Transport Directive, it refuses to take off. So far, encouragement has taken the form of tax incentives and special treatment with regard to market access.

Studies seem to imply that the problem may lie in the quality, rapidity and punctuality of the services, including the punctuality and general efficiency of one or more of the modes involved, and insufficient and/or inadequate transhipment resources.

A recent Commission proposal highlighted the need for better Member State coordination regarding construction of intermodal terminals and proposed various administrative simplifications, but also basically maintained that a promotional approach is needed, including dedicated rules on market access, in particular with respect to the land transport leg. The Commission Communication on Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy raises this issue in Flagship 4 – Greening Freight Transport. It suggests revamping the existing framework for intermodal transport, including considering economic incentives for both operations and infrastructure, based, it appears, on monitoring of transport and logistics emissions.

The proposed own-initiative opinion will consider the possibilities of resolving the problem of the attractiveness of intermodal transport and multimodal logistics by dealing with the efficiency and cost problems of intermodal transport and multimodal logistics through other means than financial support for operations. This means looking at ways to improve efficiency and punctuality, where needed, ways to resolve infrastructure problems and problems linked to delays in cross-border rail transport and lack of transhipment resources, and the need to achieve cross-border coordination between Member States in that respect. The opinion will also look at other regulatory impediments to the optimal functioning of an intermodal transport chain, such as restrictions on cross-border traffic with HGVs.

The ultimate objective of this opinion is to demonstrate that intermodal transport and multimodal logistics solutions can be made attractive without artificial support and this could bring about flexible and optimally efficient transport solutions, adapted to local conditions and reduced emissions.