Both the Polyrail and multi-berces systems are light-duty combined rail-road techniques that do not require a transhipment terminal. They also work very well with road-based logistics. They provide additional convenience due to the reliability of rail services and enable shippers to deal with pre and post shipment road journeys by themselves. The majority of freight terminals can be equipped with these two systems; truck access is all that is required. Both systems allow access to sites without private sidings.

The « multi-berces » system: a special flat wagon is equipped with three pivoting frames which support multi-purpose « Ampliroll » rail-road containers. The containers are placed on the frames by a truck equipped with a hydraulic lifting arm. The wagon is equipped with a pivot device which allows containers to pass from one transport means to another without any special equipment on the ground. The operator unlocks the pivoting frame and then makes it pivot. Then he uses the truck’s hydraulic arm to load or unload the container.

Multi-berces can place a container on the ground, whereas Polyrail cannot. The maximum load per container is 14 tonnes net (26 tonnes GVWR for a 6×4 truck) for multi-berces. This tonnage limit is the maximum allowed by road traffic regulations. Within a dedicated industrial site the maximum tonnage may be increased to 16 tonnes for 8×4 multi-berces. Multi-berces is limited to use with 20′ containers.

The average transhipment time for a container is 6 minutes for multi-berces.

Advantages of the system:

  • No particular support equipment required
  • Quick transfer
  • The ability to load different container types

Drawbacks of the system:

  • Special wagon, expensive and delicate (pivoting frames)
  • Special truck equipped with an Ampliroll hydraulic arm
  • Containers of limited load and size

Example: The system is used in France by Ecorail, an SNCF subsidiary specialised in the disposal of household waste.