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Improvement of Pre- and End-Haulage

European Union
Complete with results
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

Switching long-distance freight from road transport is seen as important for reducing traffic congestion and improving the environment and security of oil supply. However, the transfer to other modes usually relies on road-based transport to and from terminals. This pre- and end-haulage is one of the major bottlenecks in intermodal transport - costs are high and a lack of co-ordination between companies along the transport chain leads to inefficiency.


The objectives of IMPREND were to:

  • identify current problems and possible solutions for pre- and end-haulage;
  • test and evaluate promising solutions at demonstration sites.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


Interviews showed that the most significant problems were time delays associated with the restricted opening times of terminals, consequent road traffic congestion and the poor punctuality of trains. It also showed that there was a lack of co-operation, e.g. poor exchange of electronic data and a lack of return loads.

Twenty-five solutions were identified to help overcome the problems. Organisational solutions were the most dominant, based on improved communications and co-operation. However, successful implementation requires win-win benefits to be identified by the actors - in many cases, pre- and end-hauliers are not the direct customers of a terminal and therefore receive lower priority than the shippers and railway operators.

Demonstration projects showed that co-operation between pre- and end-hauliers typically fails, due to mutual competition. However, the introduction of round-table meetings of actors along the transport chain generated some co-operation. Information and communication technologies appeared to have major potential, but the presence of many small independent road hauliers makes it difficult to get them to participate in a large overall information system unless there is very strong evidence that benefits will outweigh the costs.

Policy implications

IMPREND concluded that the shipper is the most important actor in the intermodal transport chain. However, it is difficult to influence the decisions of shippers, which form a large and diverse set of companies. IMPREND would recommend fostering better communication and co-operation between them, and this is an area where policy initiatives need to be tested.

Other areas where co-operation should be promoted are:

  • co-ordination of opening times at terminals, shippers, forwarders and container depots, which should cut costs for hauliers;
  • regular communication between terminal operators and other actors in the transport chain to identify bottlenecks and efficiency savings at terminals;
  • co-operation between hauliers and intermodal operators to improve planning, data exchange and the organisation of return loads.

This requires the co-ordinated development of transport policy on European, national and regional levels. Possibilities for further consideration are:

  • pilot funding for shippers to experiment with intermodal transport;
  • the initiation of regular roundtable meetings between companies in the sector;
  • further demonstration projects to identify and promote good practice in pre- and end-haulage;
  • providing information infrastructure for data sharing.

In addition, further liberalisation of the rail sector is expected to improve the organisation and efficiency of intermodal transport.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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