Intermodal transport nodes - or freight villages - are considered the single most important building block of schemes to provide commercially efficient and attractive intermodal services on a European scale. These terminals act as an interface between transport modes and between transport operations and any other logistics services.
FV-2000 aimed to analyse and evaluate freight village structures and layouts in order to determine whether the proximity of different transport and logistics activities is a key factor for the use of intermodal transport.
The main objectives of FV-2000 have been:
- to determine the merits and limits of the development of freight villages for the enhancement of intermodal transport competitiveness, based on benchmarking and analysis of best practices and case studies;
- to examine freight village operations and internal organisation in order to measure the impact of such structures on the environment;
- to develop guidelines and management tools for improving working conditions and security for freight village operators, whilst increasing their awareness with regard to risk factors, safety and the environment.
- performed case studies in seven European countries covering a total of 14 freight villages (FV) representing two principal models, i.e. integrated FVs and non-integrated FVs, where the latter type does not allow for a change of transport mode at the terminal;
- carried out some 130 interviews with FV managers, logistics and transport providers, and public authorities involved with planning and developing freight terminals;
- found major benefits for regional economic development where integrated freight villages have emerged, owed to improved intermodality, the availability of attractive services, and the proximity of different transport and logistics activities at one site;
- assessed the environmental impacts of FV operation particularly with respect to dangerous goods; from this assessment three management tools emerged:
- a Good Practice Code, in the form of a user-friendly handbook (available via the internet or on CD-ROM), addressing transport and storage operations in FV areas,
- a Decision Support System (DSS), which has been field-tested by three FVs, designed to help assess the risks associated with handling dangerous and flammable goods; this DSS builds on a database of some 160 substances and materials, and
- a Training Software Tool (again available via the internet or on CD-ROM) comprising technical guidelines for operators, and providing recommendations on communication, organisational matters, professional skills and related training of staff, ultimately promoting the implementation of an environmental management system in FVs.
From the results of FV-2000, it is clear that both types of FVs, and particularly integrated freight villages (which allow for modal change and offer a broad range of logistics and transport services at one single spot) foster intermodality and efficiency.