New EUREKA project doubles intermodal freight train capacity

10/06/04

EUREKA project E! 2388 LOGCHAIN MUSIC has doubled freight train capacity on the intermodal service Duisburg-Lübeck, which links Norway, Sweden and Finland to Germany and the rest of Europe, through the development of an intermodal conveyor belt. The project not only created this innovative rail production scheme, but has also increased traffic volume and developed two new software packages to aid freight and port management.

"We examined the current freight routes and found that about 50% of traffic going via Trelleborg arrived at the port up to 12 hours before its departure on the evening crossing and overnight rail service to its destination," explained Rainer Mertel, Head of General Marketing at the German lead partner, Kombiverkehr KG. "The breakthrough for the project was when we negotiated extra daytime freight trains to allow a return daytime service, thus doubling the potential freight capacity."

The conveyor belt combines the Swedish service (Trelleborg-Stockholm) with the German loop (Lübeck-Duisburg), establishing Duisburg as a freight hub for links with France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium.

"The negotiations were far from easy as the authorities give priority to passenger trains during the day. We managed to get almost all that we wanted though, as no time is included in the schedule for unloading of freight. Instead, the trains simply unhook and take up the trucks and carriages awaiting the return journey," explains Mertel.

"Scheduling the intermodal trains for an additional daytime departure saves a lot of waiting time for the customer and improves the overall competitive situation of intermodal transport," claims Peter Cardebring, Deputy Managing Director of the Swedish partner, the Port of Trelleborg.

HANDLING INCREASED TRAFFIC

To handle the increased traffic, the LOGCHAIN MUSIC partners also created new software packages to deal with capacity management and control management systems for small ferry terminals, replacing existing manual systems.

"The Capacity Management System optimises and maximises capacity by managing up to 5000 containers per day, while the Control Management System for ferry ports computerises the storage, management, movement, loading and unloading of containers. Such systems were previously only available to large ports, but are now available to smaller ports as a result of the project," says Mertel.

According to Mertel, "EUREKA pioneered co operation between the Swedish and German partners to create a successful integrated project." The project will not only benefit the partners through sales or licensing of the software systems, but also through the increased freight traffic, and they hope that they have established a blueprint for other routes.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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