By combined transport is meant:

  • The combination of at least two modes of transport in a single logistics chain, in which there is no change of shipping container(even Intermodal Transport Unit/ITU)

and whose journeys take place:

  • by rail, waterway or short sea shipping for the main sea transits,
  • by road for the initial and/or final transits.

Combined transport brings together the advantages specific to various modes of transport:

  • rail or water is suitable for the transport of large quantities over long distances.
  • road is efficient for collection and distribution over short and medium distances.

New concepts have emerged with combined transport, resulting from actions by governments and the business world; here we will deal with the following:

Piggyback: generic term grouping together all the techniques for the specific loading and unloading of semi-trailers on a train.

Co-modality (or comodality): an idea which means « efficient recourse to different modes of transport in isolation or in combination » with the aim of obtaining an « optimal and sustainable use of resources ». This was widely advocated in 2006 at the time of the revision of the 2001 transport white book. It expresses a qualified approach to multimodal transport to the extent that road transport should not be set against other modes and that each one should be used in a complementary manner.

Optimodalité® : concept created by the Circle for Optimodality in Europe (COE) meaning the « optimisation of the technical, economic and environmental performance of goods transport chains ».

Rail-road intermodal transport

Unaccompanied rail-road intermodal transport

Unaccompanied container rail-road intermodal transport

Rolling highway

Inland waterway intermodal transport

Container inland waterway intermodal transport

Intermoal Unit inland waterway transport

Short Sea Shipping