CODE 24 Online Rail Freight Exchange - Needs of Potential Users
P Endemann, Regionalverband FrankfurtRheinMain; K Tracksdorf, Hochschule RheinMain; T Kaspar, TransCare AG, DE
An interactive online market platform is suggested to overcome information barriers in the rail freight market. This online rail freight spot exchange is embedded in the European Project CODE 24 aiming at developing the trans-European corridor 24.
1. Situation and Overall Freight Context in Europe
In many European countries, rail freight demand has increased considerably during the last 10-15 years. This is partly due to the opening of the rail freight market in Europe. Apart from Germany, countries like the Netherlands, United Kingdom and especially Sweden have shown that rail freight has some (shifting) potential and deserves more attention (Eurostat 2009, 2005; Endemann 2009; Vierth 2011).
Some key elements to the success of the rail sector are the extension of rail infrastructures and services and new forms of co-operations, e. g. railport-system by DB Schenker Rail, the Xrail single wagon network, several shuttle services to improve the hinterland access of sea ports, especially by new market entrants, enlargement of combined transport by Kombiverkehr or HUPAC) and more sector-specific rail based logistics services by Transpetrol or Crossrail. These examples may encourage to develop and ensure rail services for the so-called last mile.
A closer look at the German case reveals that - given a tremendous increase of rail freight operators and some restrictive measures for the road freight sector (e. g. digital tachograph, EU-regulation on driving times, rest and break periods, motorway charging scheme for heavy good vehicles) - there is still some potential to boost rail freight. According to previous studies, a missing transparency of and poor knowledge on the measures to promote rail freight services hinder further increase of rail freight volumes (Jahncke 2008; TransCare 2006).
In order to increase the competitiveness of rail freight and to overcome knowledge and information barriers in the rail freight market, an online rail freight transport spot exchange is a useful instrument to cope with the adherent challenges. The EU-project CODE 24 (Corridor 24 Development Rotterdam - Genoa) - funded under the INTERREG IVB programme - aims to develop such an online market. Beside Regionalverband FrankfurtRheinMain and TransCare the logistics service provider Transpetrol and the University of Duisburg-Essen are involved in this specific action. The latter initiated this action and provided a first prototype of the envisaged online tool.
In this paper, the market?s relevance of such a tool and the requirements of potential users - predominantly shipping companies, transport logistics providers and rail operators - are discussed.
Therefore, an expert workshop has been held with the 30 delegates from the aforementioned groups and members from the research and the public administrative side. The advantage was to exchange directly the pros and cons and to evaluate the different criteria made to establish an online tool. The workshop was moderated by an external journalist. The following aspects were analysed:
- Current Situation of the Rail freight market
- Market requirements for an online platform
- Contents of such an online freight market
- Framework for the business & operation model
The participants confirmed some deficits in the market transparency and welcomed the online freight transport spot exchange as a tool to overcome these barriers and to increase the competiveness of rail towards the road sector. Though the rail freight market is rather small compared to the road freight sector, the participants saw some potential to run this online platform if the following aspects are considered:
- Enabling the spot market and establishing new businesses
- Covering combined transport and single wagon services
- Allowing call for tenders of rail logistics services
- Including information on rail sidings and terminals
- Neutral platform operator independent from demand and supply side
The workshop further revealed that the operational model is crucial for the success of such an online market in the long-run.
5. Added Value for other European Countries
An Online Rail Freight Transport Spot Exchange is innovative for many European countries and is promising in overcoming barriers and bringing together especially SME from either the demand and the supply side.
Endemann, P. (2009). Booming Rail Freight Market and Collapsing Road Traffic ? What can the Regions Do?, Proceedings of the European Transport Conference, London.
Eurostat (2009) Statistics In Focus 2/2009, Luxemburg.
Eurostat (2005) Statistics In Focus 3/2005, Luxemburg.
Jahncke, R., (2008). Branchenspezifische Leistungsangebote im Schienengüterverkehr, Schriftenreihe Wirtschaft & Logistik der BVL e. V., Deutscher Verkehrs-Verlag, Hamburg.
TransCare (2006). Schienengüterverkehrskonzept für das Rhein-Main-Gebiet ? Chancen für NE-Bahnen, Unpublished final report, Wiesbaden; summary: http://www.region-frankfurt.de/media/custom/1169_1363_1.PDF (accessed 2.2.2012).
Vierth, I. (2011). Evaluation of the Outcome of the Opening Market in Sweden - 15 Years Deregulated Rail Freight Market - Lessons from Sweden, European Transport Conference 2011.
Association for European Transport