The Impact of Intermodality on Working Cultures in European Freight Transport
RAHTZ N D, Sheffield Hallam University, WHITTLES M, University of Leeds, UK
This paper discusses the results of a survey carried out in the Summer of 1997 as part of a European research project (WORKFRET) concerned with the impact of intermodal developments on working cultures in freight transport. This project is funded by the E
This paper discusses the results of a survey carried out in the Summer of 1997 as part of a European research project (WORKFRET) concerned with the impact of intermodal developments on working cultures in freight transport. This project is funded by the European Commission for two years from January 1997 to December 1998 and co-ordinated by Dr Aristotelis Naniopoulos at the University of Thessaloniki, Greece. The survey data referred to in this paper was gathered by all members of the research consortium I and analysed by the authors. The findings reported here are not conclusive because they represent an early stage of the research process, laying the foundation for mor~ detailed investigation in other workpackages. Further reports on technological and logistical developments in freight transport and selected case studies will be available from the European Commission later in 1998. The overall aim of the WORKFRET project is to make recommendations that promote the development of a more efficient freight, transport system in Europe by taking account of the social dimension of technological and organisational change. The underlying theme is that more attention should be given to changing the attitudes and capabilities of the workforce through social partnership and investment in training, otherwise the benefits ofintermodality will be slow to be realised.
It is estimated that European transport movements will double by the year 2025 and represent 7.5% of GDP (European Commission, Panorama, Vol 2, 1998). However, 2% of GDP are costs linked with transport congestion so a major objective of the European Union is to promote the development of sustainable and interoperable transport systems that maximise economic efficiency and minimise environmental impact. By encouraging greater intermodality the relative dominance of road freight (74% of inland traffic) can be reduced in favour of rail and water transport which are economically viable on longer distance transport (>300 km) or for low value (bulk) goods. This can be attempted through technological innovation in the transfer of goods between modes and improved organisation/logistics but only fully realised through the development of new managerial and working cultures that are intermodally orientated. Account must also taken of the impact of pricing policies and wider restructuring in the transport industry, particularly privatisation, outsourcing and production location.
Association for European Transport