Intermodal cost function: a practical tool applied to European freight corridors
Faculty of Applied Economics
Conference proceedings of World Conference Transport Research
University of Antwerp
Intermodal transport is becoming more and more relevant in the European transport agenda, being considered a valuable option to road transport. The benefits that intermodal transport can provide are related both to environmental impacts and to cost aspects. On a European level the policy measures that have been taken and are currently developed focus on the implementation and support of this mode of transport while from the business point of view intermodal transport is not yet considered very appealing. The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of the total intermodal cost function, taking into account the internal cost elements. When considering an intermodal journey several cost items need to be taken into account: the transport cost itself, the transhipment cost, the managerial costs related to the entire door-to-door service. In the present paper a European intermodal corridor will be analysed. The focus will be on the intermodal corridor starting from the Port of Antwerp, in Belgium and ending in Basel, in Switzerland. The study aims at analysing the structure of a traffic corridor starting from this port and ending in one region/area in the centre of Europe. A methodology has been developed which is based on four steps. First a review of the literature about intermodal cost functions has been considered and used as a framework for the elaboration of the intermodal cost function presented. As a second step an analysis of traffic flows for a specific destination from the aforementioned port has been carried out. Subsequently the calculation of internal costs has been developed through the use of a calculation tool specifically improved for the paper purpose. As a conclusion some considerations and a proposal for further research are drawn. The results and the methodology of the present exercise can be considered as a possible approach for the calculation of the cost items composing the intermodal transport. This exercise can be useful when a complete and precise analysis is needed. This approach allows for a concentration on the typical aspects of intermodal transport, giving the possibility to focus on the critical aspects related to cost items and trying to intervene on these elements for improving the performance and quality of this mode of transport.