The Vitality of Intermodal Transport (Hardcover)


“There is no such book that combines all relevant aspects of intermodal transport, be it conceptual and technical features, political influences, stakeholder intentions or operational insights, as does this one. It intends to open eyes and raise awareness for the necessity of change of the contemporary management of supply and transport chains.”



In the last decades, logistics and supply chain management have enabled extensive commodity flows all over the world and doing so, facilitated globalisation and the related enhancement of prosperity of many people and nations. The key to this has been the invention of containerised transport systems to ease and speed up transhipments and to generate economies of scale that eventually take cost out of supply chains. Despite (and partly because of) its success, supply chain management however faces challenges that threaten the status quo. Phenomena like the increased congestion of roads, the progressing climate change as well as ever demanding customers indicate that the current form of managing supply chains involves change in order to sustain the concept’s success in the future.

When it comes to transportation, the majority of current continental cargo is moved by unimodal road freight. Road freight possesses various features that make it attractive to shippers, especially its flexibility and accessibility. However, it also comes with characteristics that negatively impact economy and society, namely congestion, cost and emissions. To meet current and future challenges in supply chain management, a mode of transport becomes necessary that maintains the accessibility of road transport, and at the same time, reduces the negative aspects of unimodal road freight.

Intermodal transport provides these attributes as it uses various modes of transport in a chain and thus combines their individual strengths. From a conceptual perspective, this is the ideal replacement of unimodal transport that can furthermore serve as the basis for more advanced transport concepts like synchro modal transport. In reality however, intermodal transport has a rather small market share which is due to technical differences, individual political intentions and discrepancies in the (intermodal) transport industry. For intermodal transport to grow its market share and to become a viable and large scale option in global supply chain management, it requires a mix of shippers that rethink their supply chain strategies, transport providers that start proper collaboration and politicians that facilitate adequate legal framework conditions and provide a comprehensive vision.

Table of content



2.1 Introduction
2.2 Definition of intermodal transport
2.3 Intermodal concepts
2.4 Intermodal transport – preconditions and modes of transport
2.5 Business Model


3.1 Introduction
3.2 Stakeholders of intermodal transport
3.3 Regulation of intermodal transport


4.1 Introduction
4.2 Networks
4.3 Terminals
4.4 Equipment


5.1 Introduction
5.2 Intermodal transport offer and price determination
5.3 Planning intermodal transport
5.4 IT support in intermodal transport


6.1 Introduction
6.2 Governmental role in intermodal transport
6.3 Political ambitions and requirements of the industry
6.4 Initiatives and incentives


7.1 Introduction
7.2 Trends in economy and supply chain management
7.3 How can intermodal transport facilitate these trends?
7.4 Green logistics and sustainability
7.5 Synchro modality


8.1 Introduction
8.2 Intermodal concepts
8.3 Equipment
8.4 Politics
8.5 Economy


9.1 Introduction
9.2 What are difficulties related to intermodal transport?
9.3 Why do the different stakeholders not work together?
9.4 Difficulties in intercontinental intermodal transport


10.1 Introduction
10.2 Intermodal transport – a promising concept
10.3 What inhibits intermodal transport from taking off in reality?
10.4 How to increase the use of intermodal transport in the future? – Food for thought
10.5 Final words

Case studies

  • The supply of thermoplastics from France to Germany
  • The distribution of plastic granulates across the Iberian Peninsula
  • The supply of printing pigments from Spain to Germany
  • The supply of poly ethylene from the Netherlands to Poland
  • The supply of ambient products from Europe to Kazakhstan
  • The Chengdu – Tilburg – Rotterdam Express between China and the Netherlands
  • The supply of high density poly ethylene from Belgium to Denmark
  • The transport of containers and trailers from Poland to the Netherlands and the United Kingdom
  • The supply of de-icers from the United Kingdom to Italy
  • The supply of hot rosin from Sweden to Belgium and the Netherlands
  • The EU ambition of creating a Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T)
  • The supply of poly ethylene from the Netherlands to Italy
  • Germany as a European transit nation


Nur code:804 – Production, purchase, logistics
Edition:1st edition, 2018
No. of pages:373
Publisher:InterRoJo Publications
Binding method:Hardcover
Price:€50,- (hardcover)
Layout:Laura Kühne
Maps:Frans de Jong Zwaag. The Netherlands


Hendrik Rodemann

Hendrik Rodemann (born 1987) studied logistics and supply chain management at NHTV Breda in the Netherlands and at Cranfield University in England. His expertise is mainly in the field of logistics service provision with focus on the automotive industry and on intermodal transport. Hendrik has work experience in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. He is currently working in the business development department of a global automotive logistics service provider.

Frans de Jong

Frans de Jong (born 1955) teaches physical distribution related subjects like intermodal transport, port logistics, transport systems and transport management at various universities worldwide and advises both public and private authorities. He has 41 years of experience in various jobs within rail transport and was Business Unit manager of Intermodal transport at Vos logistics. Frans is an expert in rail-, shortsea-, barge-, truck transports with an emphasis on bulk logistics, port logistics and supply-chain solutions.

Kees Ruijgrok

Prof. Kees Ruijgrok (born 1949) is emeritus professor in Transport and Logistics Management at the TIAS Business School of Tilburg University. Between 1986 and 2008 he has been heading different TNO research groups that performed logistics research and he has had several other strategic positions at TNO during his lifetime career. He now acts as strategic advisor and is member of the board of several not for profit organizations.

Kees Verweij

Kees Verweij (born 1967) is Partner at Buck Consultants International, and has over 25 years of experience in European logistics and freight transport. His focus is on improving the competitive position of companies, ports and regions in freight transport and logistics by optimizing and coordinating the use of all available transport modes in a network. He is one of the leading experts in the Netherlands on multimodal logistics innovations such as synchromodal transport and autonomous truck driving. The last few years he has worked extensively with port and inland terminal organizations and government authorities, developing and monitoring innovations supply chain solutions. Besides, he has focused on mapping the economic value and job creation in logistics operations in the Netherlands, not only in outsourced logistics but also in industries, trade, the building sector, etc.  He regularly publishes in trade magazines, and he often speaks at workshops and seminars.

Why this book?

In early summer 2012 the first plans were made by Frans de Jong, Kees Ruijgrok and Kees Verweij to write a book about intermodal transport but they did not have the time to put their plan into action and that is why they asked Hendrik Rodemann, an ex-student of Frans, to write the book while Frans Kees and Kees became advisors or mentors for the book’s individual sections.

Why have we written this book and why should you read it?

We are of the opinion that there is no such book that combines all relevant aspects of intermodal transport, be it conceptual and technical features, political influences, stakeholder intentions or operational insights, as does this one. Furthermore, we seek to open eyes and to raise awareness for the necessity of change of the contemporary management of supply and transport chains.

Comparable to its rather low market share, the current proportion (if there is any) of intermodal transport in study plans at universities or on the agendas of today’s decision makers is negligible. To overcome this classic case of a chicken-and-egg problem, we have written this book with the intention to inspire, educate and empower current and future leaders in economy and politics to take responsible decisions.

We strongly believe that we have reached a point at which a drastic rethink of how we get our products to (and increasingly important from) the markets becomes inevitable. So far, the story of globalisation, supply chain management and containerisation has been very successful. Without urgent change however, it might turn into an economic, ecologic and social nightmare. To prevent this, intermodal transport can be an important contributor, but should not be considered as the one and only solution. Rather, it should be supported by further facilitators such as the internet of things, the means to synchronise supply chains and the different possibilities of emission free transportation.

Regardless of how the eventual solutions will look like in detail, our wish is that you develop a mindset that is characterised by collaborating, remaining critical and continuously scrutinising concepts and conditions (including those presented in this book). We truly promote lifelong learning and hope that this book contributes to you making a difference to our economy, our society and our planet.

Enjoy reading it!

Frans & Hendrik