Land Access to Sea Ports

European Conference of Ministers of Transport

In recent years, the substantial expansion in containerisation, the advent of megacarriers, the race for ever larger container-ships and higher-volume flows, have revolutionised intercontinental transport. These changes have entailed considerable reductions in maritime transport costs, which has made distant countries extremely accessible. The most costly component of the international traffic transport chain is now the inland leg, which explains why forwarders are so keen to gain control over inland transport operations.

On land, road is the dominant mode, but with infrastructure congestion, rail and inland waterways also have a part to play. Under what conditions could these last two modes capture a larger share of inland transport? Rail cannot be really competitive without a dedicated freight network, and inland waterways will only get to play a significant role if transhipment costs are cut. Couldn’t greater competition within these two modes generate productivity gains and better quality services?

The Round Table provided the opportunity to address the whole issue of competitiveness in inland transport modes and identified guidelines on land access to ports for policy-makers.

English French