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What is combined transport? Who can profit from it?

>With the growing need for sustainability and efficiency in the industry, combined transport is emerging as the key to creating supply chains. By combining different modes of transport, it offers solutions that are both economical and environmentally friendly. In this article, we will take a closer look at how combined transport is revolutionizing the TSL industry.

What is combined transport?

Combined transport, in its simplest definition, refers to the transport of cargo using more than one mode of transport, with the entire process taking place using only one loading unit or container. The aim of this approach is to use the most efficient transport methods on different sections of the route, which often involves a combination of road, rail and sea or inland waterway transport.

Types of combined transport

  • sea and road transport
  • rail and road transport (piggyback)
  • river and road transport
  • sea and rail transport

Legal definition

Pursuant to Art. 4 of the Road Transport Act, combined transport is considered to be the transport of goods where road transport is used on the initial or final section of the route, and another type of transport, for example rail or sea,is used on the main section of the route. It is essential that the choice of the main means of transport be dictated by both the reduction of the overall transport time and the reduction of harmful emissions to the environment. We also cannot forget about the financial aspect, i.e. the profitability of the entire endeavour.

Principles of combined transport

  • One loading unit along the entire route: using one loading unit (e.g. container) along the entire length of the transport route.
  • Using different modes of transport: combined transport is based on combining different modes of transport (road, rail, sea or inland navigation) in order to optimize the transport process.
  • Minimizing the impact on the environment: promoting the means of transport that minimizes the emission of harmful substances into the atmosphere.
  • Cost and time optimization: using rail or water transport on the main sections of the route can significantly shorten transport times and reduce costs compared to using only road transport over long distances.
  • Compliance with legal regulations: combined transport must meet certain legal requirements, including regulations on transport safety and environmental protection.
  • Paying attention to the type of cargo: size, weight, temperature requirements and how easily the goods may be damaged can significantly influence the selection of the most appropriate means of transport.

When does it pay off?

Combined transport is used in many situations, providing solutions to a variety of logistical challenges. After all, global trade is based on extensive supply chains and dependencies. In what situations is this combined method of transport most often used?

International commodity trade

Combined transport is often used in international trade, where goods have to travel long distances, crossing borders of countries and continents. Combining sea transport with rail or road transport allows for the efficient delivery of goods from the point of production to the end recipient.

Truck transport

An example of a specific application of combined transport is the transport of entire truck sets (a tractor unit with a semi-trailer) by rail. This method, known as piggyback transport, allows trucks to move quickly over long distances, minimizing fuel consumption and emissions.

Distribution of perishable products

For products requiring quick delivery, such as fresh food or pharmaceuticals, combined transport offers a solution that combines the speed of road transport with the cost and environmental efficiency of rail or sea transport.

Infrastructure and construction projects

Large projects requiring the transportation of heavy construction equipment or materials over long distances can take advantage of combined transportation to optimize logistics and reduce transportation costs.

E-commerce and retail distribution

With the growing demand for fast and reliable delivery of consumer goods, e-commerce and retail companies are increasingly turning to combined transportation to streamline their supply chains and offer customers efficient delivery options.

Summary: is combined transport profitable?

Combined transport plays a key role in the modern world, offering efficient and sustainable solutions for the transportation of goods. By using more than one mode of transport, it facilitates cost and time optimization as well as the reduction of the negative impact on the environment. This type of transport, combining road, rail, sea or inland waterway transport, allows goods to move smoothly over long distances with minimal reloading.