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16. WP1: Logistics requirements
November 16th, 2007
Progress report on WP1

In order to assess the real-life requirements of shippers and logistics service providers concerning rail freight transport, the RETRACK Consortium has performed about 20 interviews with companies which are potential clients for the RETRACK rail freight service in 2009. These companies are active in different markets, e.g. chemicals, steel, automotive manufacturers or retail. In addition a number of European logistics service providers have been interviewed. Almost all of these companies are multinationals with manufacturing and/or distribution sites all across Europe.

The interviews show that there are four main market segments in which companies are interested in the use of the RETRACK rail shuttle. These four market segments are:

1. Transport of dry (e.g. cement, grains, coal) or liquid bulk (e.g. chemicals or liquids) goods in wagons or tank containers. In this market segment, the transported volume of dry and liquid bulk by rail is usually large and predictable. For the larger volumes block trains are used, but for new locations wagon loads can be an interesting market for RETRACK. Adequate safety and security is an important requirement in this market.

2. Transport of oversized/special goods (e.g. cars, steel products). Also in this market segment, the transported volume of special and oversized goods by rail is usually large and predictable (due to the manufacturing process). For the larger volumes block trains are used, but for new locations wagon loads can be an interesting market for RETRACK. Adequate safety and security is a little less important than in the first market segment, but reliability is of major importance, especially for the automotive industry.

3. Transport of maritime containers (unitised loads). This market segment shows major growth in demand, especially to destinations in Eastern Europe. A number of logistics service providers are already shipping up to 10 containers per week over the corridor Netherlands - Romania, and are interested in the use of rail transport if it is competitive against road transport.

4. Transport of continental swap bodies (unit loads). This market segment also shows a potential for major growth in demand, especially to destinations in Eastern Europe. A number of logistics service providers are already shipping up to 10 swap bodies per week along the corridor Netherlands Romania. They are interested in the use of rail transport if competitive compared to road transport. In particular, in this market, Austrian logistics service providers provide network services by for example collecting containers from Benelux, Germany and France and putting them on a rail shuttle to Romania and vice versa.

Top 10 suggested improvements for rail freight transport services from RETRACK interviews:

1. Reliability of rail freight transport 2. Lower price of rail than road haulage 3. Cargo safety and security 4. Frequency of rail transport service 5. Transit times competitive to road transport 6. Improvement of activities of rail freight operators in case of delays 7. Tracking and tracing needs 8. Simplification of paperwork (e.g. customs) 9. Flexibility in rail freight service 10. Need of infrastructure repairs

So, the conclusion can be that interview data shows a firm potential for a RETRACK rail freight shuttle is emerging. Initially, the base load of the shuttle from Rotterdam to Constanza will be filled by tank containers from chemical containers (several contracts), while the other part of the shuttle capacity will be filled by several logistics service providers and shipping lines. When the shuttle starts, interest from companies having swap bodies will emerge, while also a viable feeder service for the automotive and steel manufacturers in Slovakia can be set up. When arriving in Constanta, the containers and wagons can in part be sailed to Turkey, the Ukraine, Russia and the Caucasus countries for final delivery. The RETRACK rail service could then start with one service per week at the end of 2008 between Rotterdam and Constanza, stopping at one to three terminals on the corridor according the customer demand. At the moment, stops in Duisburg, Wels and Budapest seem to be the most logical.




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