Semi-trailers lead Germany’s modal shift
The transport of semi-trailers in Germany is growing rapidly. According to Eugen Truschkin, senior manager logistics consulting at DB Engineering & Consulting GmbH, semi-trailers are leading the modal shift in the country. The deployment of new horizontal transhipment technologies plays a considerable role in that. Apparently, small and medium-sized companies’ willingness to experiment with them contributes to this trend.
Eugen Truschkin is a specialist when it comes to intermodal transportation and combined transport. He also releases frequent reports on relevant developments occurring in the German market. His latest report came out in February this year, and RailFreight.com chatted with him to analyse the results.
Combined transport and semi-trailers go hand-in-hand
Truschkin’s studies and other reports pinpoint that Germany’s combined transport sector thrives. To make this more tangible, one has to look at the combined transport market share in total rail freight from 2018 onwards. Specifically, in 2018 the rail-related combined transport share in Germany was 36,4 per cent (with reference to tkm). By the end of 2020, this percentage had increased to 39,7 per cent.
Simultaneously, the presence of semi-trailers in German combined transport increased by 13 per cent annually between 2005 and 2020. According to Truschkin’s latest findings, the German transport market currently has 206,225 semi-trailers, with 95 per cent being non-cranable.
What drives the modal shift?
According to Truschkin, semi-trailers in Germany are the main driver behind achieving a larger modal split for rail freight. The goal for the country is a 25 per cent share of the railways until 2030. But who is the main driver behind the extended use of semi-trailers that boosts combined transport?
Truschkin explained that “one of the reasons for the observed development is that small and medium-sized companies, which often do not possess cranable trailers, start contributing to the modal shift using new transhipment technologies”. Of course, they find fertile ground to do so since transhipment technologies like CargoBeamer, ModaLohr or Helrom, which recently received funding from the German government, provide the needed technologies for rail and road transport companies to work closely.
At the same time, digitalisation and IT solutions accompanying them have an equally important role, making access to combined transport easier for smaller companies.
What about infrastructure?
“Combined transport appears to be increasingly attractive for customers, specifically on long distances”, highlights Truschkin; however, infrastructure is also crucial to deliver competitive and attractive products. Truschkin is convinced that “intermodal terminals and the whole network will develop further in the coming years”, thus allowing more space for growth.
His forecast coincides with Germany’s recent pledge to extend its funding for railways and railway infrastructure projects. Combined transport will probably get a fair share of the funding pie since the coalition government underlined its focus on expanding the combined transport terminals network of the country.
Do you want to read the full article?
Thank you for visiting RailFreight.com. Become a member of RailFreight Premium and get full access to all our premium content.
Are you already a member?
Do you have a free account? With a free account, you had access to read all premium content on RailFreight.com for free until 1 May 2023. From 1 May onwards you need a paid membership to read all premium articles. Questions? Call +31(0)10 280 1000 or see the FAQ.