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Container Transport through Subsurface Pipelines - feasibility study

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Geo-spatial type
Network corridors
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Infrastructure (INF)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

In the Federal Republic of Germany the traffic routes have reached their capacity limit. Serious traffic jams and delays occur: About 10% of the German 11,000 km long motorway network transform into car parks every day [source: ADAC]. The costs resulting from this problem score around 100 billion Euro a year at the current point. This situation will become even more dramatic in the following years. Up to the year 2020 the road transportation is about to double - compared to 1997. With growing importance of an inter company division of work as well as the highly linked European economy, road transportation of freight has become a growing risk for many companies as the time needed for delivery of goods, production materials and semi-finished products hardly remains calculable. Furthermore, mass transport of goods and freight on roads has extensive ecological consequences which exceed the capacity limit due to increasing road traffic.


Main objective of the feasibility study is to reduce road freight traffic and consequently to reduce congestion. It is assumed that existing infrastructure is not sufficient to cover increasing transport demand of the future. In a former cluster project called CARGOCAP a new underground pipeline infrastructure has been proposed to transport Euro pallets with a fully automated cap. The present study investigates the increase of the pipeline diameter to cover even full size oversea containers to create a possible link of the ports to inland transfer centres. Progress in tunnelling technologies will be evaluated as well. An assessment and comparison of the new concept with classical road and rail freight transport will be undertaken on the basis of a virtual route from Hamburg and Bremen/Bremerhafen to the Ruhr area.


First of all the virtual route for comparison and the flow of goods will be defined for all three modes. Variants of parameters, technologies and the network will be analysed and selected for final comparison. The modal shift will be evaluated. The investment cost and operational cost will be aggregated for the three modes of freight transport.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Research agency
Institution Name
Akademie Rheinland GmbH, PT MVBW - on behalf of Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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