PROMIT was a European Coordination Action (CA) for intermodal freight transport which initiated, facilitated, and supported the coordination and cooperation of national and European initiatives, projects, promotion centres, technology providers, research institutes and user groups related to this most complex transport form.
The main strategic objective of PROMIT was to contribute to a faster improvement and implementation of intermodal freight transport technologies and procedures, and to help to Promote Innovative Intermodal Freight Transport and modal shift by creating awareness of innovations, best practices and intermodal transport opportunities for potential users, as well as politicians and research community.
Additionally PROMIT aimed to:
- collect, compare and summarise available experiences and results, especially addressing intermodal logistics on East-West corridors;
- support the exchange of know-how, experiences and best practices;
- establish an active information and coordination platform for intermodal logistics;
- develop an overall promotion strategy and action plan for intermodal transport solutions.
Finally, PROMIT intended to strengthen the European intermodal transport industry as well as the intermodal transport oriented technology suppliers within their international market position.
Starting point for the PROMIT promotion strategy matrix was the structuring of information collected and processed in PROMIT towards industrial companies in a user oriented format. This should support intermodal promotion centers in doing their work, however, also provide transport users the possibility to get direct access to information on intermodal solutions.
Due to the immense size of the intermodality domain, PROMIT has chosen a matrix organisation, where the domain expertise was treated in five parallel clusters:
- Organisation and business models,
- Intermodal infrastructure and equipment,
- Information and Communication Technologies,
- Operation and services and
- Security, Safety, Legislation and Policy.
The approach followed integrated the work and the tasks from the project's work packages (vertical level) and the thematic clustering activities (horizontal level). The work packages ensured that PROMIT would collate, consolidate and disseminate already existing best practises, performance indicators and benchmarks, as well as national/European strategies, policies and promotion activities. This addressed in detail the national and European promotion structures as well as strengths, gaps and weaknesses of promotion measures that were a focus of PROMIT, including the implementation of exemplary real life cases of promotion measures in areas presently not addressed.
The project implementation covered a three-year period, during which 3 Intermodal Innovation Day Conferences and at least 15 cluster Workshops were organised in addition to the dissemination via brochures, newsletter and Internet website. PROMIT has raised synergies in the European intermodal community and contributed to policy initiatives on the national and European level that support the shift of transport from road to Intermodal transport modes.
Organisation and business models
The main goal was to examine all kinds of organisational and business models within intermodal transport chains. To help contribute to the best practice handbook and the report on benchmarking, some of the key productions of Promit, a first intensive material collection on best practice cases, has been implemented.
Throughout this work, it has become clear that it is often more easier to describe the operational and technical aspects of an intermodal transport solution, than to collect information about how it was organized in detail, and which business model was used to make the service successful.
Result of this research has so far shown that sustainable solutions are only those when collaboration between chain partners is organized to share huge investments and range critical mass, while the Distrivaart model was proven to promise results.
Intermodal Infrastructures and Equipment
In addition to compiling an inventory of projects and operational solutions, the key activities have been to perform an in-depth study of the Stora Enso North European Transport Supply System(NETSS). Although Stora Enso uses a special load unit, the SECU, NETSS as a transport solution which is generic in the sense that it can carry all cargo types being transported on road, and loading and unloading performance is the state of the art.
Information and Communication Technologies
ICT is a dominant element in defining most aspects of transport. Included is a description of 11 projects demonstrating best practices in ICT applications in intermodal transport, including: the differing level of IT penetration; low compatibility of existing systems; differing standards; lack of interoperability and integration. The developed systems provided solutions that cover a wide array of services(tracking,tracing of cargo; fleet management; electronic administration procedures; advanced navigation and communication; and intermodal door - to - door management.
Operation and Servi
To further support promotion activities, an information system should be developed, as specified in the PROMIT project.
The European Commission's initiatives the 'Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan', 'European Maritime Transport Space without Barriers', and the establishment of an e-Freight roadmap go a long way in providing an appropriate 'soft' infrastructure to support intermodal transport.
Regarding the physical infrastructure for intermodal transport, there is much to be done before generic, competitive solutions may be achieved. If the current philosophy of special solutions for each operator is allowed to continue, intermodality on a European level will be hard to achieve. New initiatives from the EU Commission are needed here, both regarding rail and waterborne transport.