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BESTFACT international workshop on Co-modality and Green Logistics


19th & 20th September 2013 in Vienna, Austria

This international, two-day workshop, in Vienna, was built around the themes of Co-modality and Green Logistics and was attended by 85 people, including participants from the EC; national and regional government agencies; freight industry participants; academics; and project partners. The moderator throughout was Tom Zunder, from NewRail (UNEW).

Day 1


The opening session, by Marcel Huschebeck (PTV), included an introduction on the aims, scope, methodology and objectives of BESTFACT and was followed by a series of presentations by representatives from Austria Tech, Rail Cargo Austria and the Rail Traction Company .The first of these was focused on the role of research in making Austria a “gateway” for Europe, with a particular focus on Turkey and the new accession states. The importance of best practice adoption and deployment was reinforced. The presentation from RCA set out their role and capabilities and stressed the need for partnerships to develop, to encourage rail freight on existing and new corridors. The presentation from RTC set out the development of a newly established traction company and some of the key limiting constraints on rail’s capabilities and competitiveness, which need to be addressed. A keynote speech from the EC laid out an analysis of the move from a focus on modal shift through co-modality, to modal integration with aspirations for future development. The opening presentations were followed by a discussion session on the need for rail to become and remain more consistently cost competitive and reliable.

Next came presentations with a more focused commercial and analytical weighting, for example a project, developed in Italy, to identify more fully and accurately the potential commodities and volumes that could be attracted to rail. This was followed by a case study from The Netherlands, identifying the potential of inland waterways to compete for FMCG flows and reefer commodities, and a presentation on the varying dimensions of containers and the case for the adoption of 45’ pallet wide containers.

The final presentations on Day 1 were on co-modal solutions and innovations. These included co-modal bulk logistics using the Mobilier Technology, the use of best practice in intermodal bulk transport and details of a new ro-ro service, between Trieste and Bettembourg, developed around the MODALOR technology set.

The ensuing discussion focused on the differences in the expected service life of rail equipment and rolling stock compared to road freight and the slow pace of change within the rail sector. The variability in container equipment size and capability was seen as a major limitation, in terms of international agreement and acceptance. The innovative technologies presented were both advocated as examples of applied innovation.

Day 2

bestf2The first presentation was on rail freight corridors and green corridors, identifying differing definitions for these corridors, especially between the policy and commercial perspectives. A series of recent projects was reviewed to demonstrate these differences. The RETRACK project was presented from two differing perspectives: from the research (PANTEIA) and the operational side (TRANSPETROL GmbH).

Post the end of the EC supported operation there was a review of the on-going operation of RETRACK as a commercial entity. Many key points were made about the need for complete operational and commercial control to be exercised along the routes operated, together with fully flexible scheduling. The ability to match loads and combine differing types of goods and also accommodate varying transit times was detailed. The Super Green corridor project was used to demonstrate how this concept was developed and could be applied flexibly in a number of differing projects. The METROCARGO project was presented as a cost effective option, for the rapid intermodal transfer of containers between road and rail, using a horizontal transfer technology, already selected by a major international shipping line.

The final presentation sessions on Day 2 were around the theme of “Greening Logistics” and best practices on economically feasible solutions.

Austrian Post AG presented their strategy to offset the loss of letter mail and the need to contain costs, enhance service levels and simultaneously protect the environment. The measures already undertaken were presented, together with details of on-going intentions for achieving a zero carbon footprint. The second presentation in this final session was on the need to develop the concept of a circular economy in relation to transport, logistics, the commodities being moved and a wider corporate responsibility. The use of innovative measures, involving multi-modal transport, was presented. The final presentation was on the need to optimise the whole logistics process and to minimise empty running and unused capacity. These positions have been developed by consolidation of goods and developing methods to achieve higher utilization rates, even when this may involve later delivery dates. Support from the Marco Polo funding stream has allowed the deployment of the planning tool, aimed at optimizing logistics and achieving cost reductions. The closing presentations were followed by a discussion session on the potential application of the consolidation tool for rail and shipping applications and for different type of goods. Looking at alternative options for the delivery of parcels was raised, as a development option.

The moderator summed up Day 2 and workshop conclusions and closed the proceedings with thanks to BMVIT, Econsult and the BESTFACT Cluster 2 leaders.   

More information on these presentations and a detailed summary of this workshop can be found here



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This Project is being funded by the European Commission, 
Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under Grant Agreement No. 285195