chapter  4
16 Pages

Railways and Borders: The International Dimension

WithRoger Vickerman

This chapter reviews the factors behind the growth of intermodal transport in the United States (US) and Europe. In the US its growth has produced capacity and congestion problems for the railroads. For Europe, some of the big issues facing intermodal transportation include its absence from many regions, and the imbalance between the established national companies and the new entrants. Over time the railroads developed and expanded the number of intermodal services from all West Coast ports. The success of the intermodal system built on Western traffic was slower to be extended in the East. A further development in intermodal transport in the US was the development of domestic containerization. Europe has been active in seeking solutions to its flagging rail industry. The overarching issue for rail intermodal everywhere is service quality. The goods carried in containers or other intermodal units are of higher value than the typical commodity mix of rail freight.