AGORA Project (History)

The Project

Intermodal terminals are key to access intermodal transport services and thus ensure efficient and road-competitive supply chains throughout Europe. Various surveys carried out on a domestic or European level have identified considerable handling capacity bottlenecks of key European terminals particularly with regard to the expected growth of combined rail/road transport in Europe. It goes without saying that, given the growth, major enlargement investments (?hard measures?) are always required. The studies, however, equally emphasized additional ?smart measures? to ensure the expected evolution of combined transport.

Intermodal terminals are key to access intermodal transport services and thus ensure efficient and road-competitive supply chains throughout Europe. Various surveys carried out on a domestic or European level have identified considerable handling capacity bottlenecks of key European terminals particularly with regard to the expected growth of combined rail/road transport in Europe. It goes without saying that, given the growth, major enlargement investments (“hard measures”) are always required. The studies, however, equally emphasized additional “smart measures” to ensure the expected evolution of combined transport.

Partners

The members of the consortium are representing any category of intermodal terminal with regard to the combined transport market segment provided at their facilities (continental and/or container hinterland service) and their location: at seaports (Antwerp, Rotterdam), ferry ports (Lübeck), inland ports (e.g. Duisburg, Neuss, Linz), or “dry” inland sites (e.g. Köln, Wien, Graz, Budapest, Bologna). The terminals offer a variety of services (transhipment, shunting, trucking, maintenance and repair, depot, …) and are linked to each other and third parties by intermodal services.
Operational Partners are supported by KombiConsult.

Objectives

The common learning Marco Polo action AGORA, which was carried out in 2007 and 2008, sought to address the latter issue. As a result, this action aimed at improving management capabilities of intermodal terminal operators throughout Europe and increasing capacity by a set of innovative, smart operational measures and the involvement of users. It was also set to creating awareness of terminal capacity enlargement needs and contributing to a more effective intermodal transport in Europe by improving know-how and experience and sharing it with all intermodal stakeholders: terminal and intermodal operators, railway undertakings, customers e.g., shippers and logistic service providers, and infrastructure managers. Hereby the action matched the Marco Polo objectives concerning the improvement of co-operation among stakeholders and dissemination of results. The action created a “Good practice manual on efficient terminal management”, a website, training courses, and seminars with stakeholders including intermodal business actors as well as national and European transport administrations.

The consortium was composed of intermodal terminal and intermodal transport operators from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and The Netherlands under the leadership of RailCargoAustria’s business unit “Terminal Services”, Austria, that have committed to this action. They represent about one third of central European handling volume.

Since the project was designed similar to the ancient Greek market place for the exchange of ideas the acronym AGORA has been selected.

Good Practices Manual

A couple of typical measures have been investigated by KombiConsult and discussed with intermodal operators, railways and in particular operators of about 80 combined transport terminals in Europe. The present “Good Practices Manual” is principally based on the DIOMIS Report “Best practices for the management of combined transport terminals“, published in 2007, which primarily concentrated on the capacity-increasing measures. Now, these and other good practices have been explored more deeply and in addition, new measures have been included in the present survey.

We have determined that a conventional “book” is not an appropriate means of publication for “good practices” and therefore chosen the form of a structured manual, where single chapters could be added more easily and improved if needed. The AGORA website offers the opportunity to open access to the manual and its chapters.

 

 

Increase of flow factor
Control of shunting services
Supply of road trucking services
Extension of terminal opening time
Bonus-malus incentives for the use of interim storage space
Separation of rail-side and road-side handlings
Task management according to pre-notification
Punctual rail services