Combined Transport – full steam ahead towards digitalisation?

Article published in: bahn manager | #05/2018: InnoTrans 2018, pp. 102-105.

How is the progress regarding Combined Transport in Europe and its digitalisation?

Among the current developments and trends of Combined Transport in Europe, a particular focus certainly lies on digitalisation, its implementation and the corresponding challenges. In their recently published article “Combined Transport in Europe – a dynamic market on the threshold to digitalisation” the authors Dr. Barbara Hüttmann und Mathias Lahrmann discuss this aspect – based on the results of the study „Report on Combined Transport“ BSL Transportation provided for the International Union of Railways (UIC).

During the last decade, the market segment of intermodal rail transportation developed particularly well. However, the dynamic growth of Combined Transport may not be taken for granted. To stay competitive in European intermodal competition in future, intermodal transport needs to continually improve, further enhancing its services.

The results of a market survey, which was carried out for the “Report of Combined Transport”, underline that digitalisation may be a key success factor. It offers large potential with several opportunities and prospects for Combined Transport to strengthen its intermodal competitiveness, e.g. by more transparency along the transport chain created by the implementation of standardised digital solutions.

It becomes obvious that the survey participants expect that in Combined Transport digital solutions will particularly contribute to improvements and efficiency gains in information flows, data quality and handling times. Overall, they assess the chances and opportunities for Combined Transport created by digitalisation much higher than possible risks or challenges. Nonetheless, the current implementation status of digital solutions in Combined Transport is still predominantly considered as not sufficient yet.

Particularly concerning the generation, management and integration of relevant data, there is still room for improvement, but also a great potential, as every digital solution is only as good as the data provided. Various programs and projects are currently developed on national but also on European level to intelligently exploit the potentials of digitalisation and to shape the future towards intermodality.

For a deeper insight and more information on the subject, please see the full version of the UIC Report on Combined Transport 2016, which is available for download ► here.

After 2014 and 2016, BSL also provides the 2018 edition of the bi-annually published “Report on Combined Transport” on behalf of the UIC. By the end of 2018, the new edition of the Report will be published with updated market data and current key topics.

17. October 2018