Denmark’s pocket wagon ban: one million extra weekly costs for operators

Intermodal operators in Scandinavia suffer costs that well exceed one million euros per week due to the Danish ban on pocket wagons with semi-trailers. The disturbance is substantial, and operators do whatever is needed to keep cargo running. However, diverting from traditional routes and using alternative solutions can have a severe financial impact on their enterprises, especially with a ban that is already going on for two weeks, and no-one knows when it will stop.

These insights were shared by Akos Ersek, Chief Policy Advisor at UIRR, during last Friday’s RailFreight Live show, that dug deeper into Denmark’s situation. Denmark might not be a great player in the intermodal market, but it functions as a gateway to and from Sweden and Norway, which see considerable traffic with Europe’s hinterland. For instance, a significant number of transported units towards Germany and Southern Europe, through these countries, are indeed semi-trailers, mentioned Ersek.

Watch the show

Do you want to hear more of this discussion? Watch the show below.

Following weeks critical

The ban was issued after a pocket wagon was seen on the bridge with what appeared to be a lose semi-trailer. This alerted the authorities, as two years ago a fatal accident took place on the same bridge, caused by parts of a semi-trailer coming off a moving packet wagon. Investigations into the recent incident are still ongoing, and the following weeks are considered critical for the future of intermodal transport in the region.

So far, there is no information concerning compensations for the sector’s losses, but such a scenario would be justified and welcome, Ersek concluded.

More interesting highlights

The discussion also focused on the figures for combined transport for 2020. As Akos Ersek said, insights from North America show a ten per cent increase in volumes fro the last quarter of the past year. UIRR is confident that European figures will reflect these of North America and that European combined transport will also be in a track of growth.

Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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