The EU Commission paper on the establishment of a 'Primary European Rail Freight Network' confirmed that European authorities wanted to create the necessary conditions and level playing field for the development of a long-term sustainable freight mobility.
Infrastructure investments are costly, though, and take a long time to come to fruition; hence the need to adopt a realistic midterm strategy for developing the use of freight trains, to bridge the gap until new infrastructure investments will be completed and providing the much needed capacity.
These goals could be achieved by removing gradually over time rail track conflicts between freight and passenger rail services, by developing corridors predominately dedicated to freight and extracting the best productivity from each available modality or from a combination of them all.
Several EU Commission projects such as NEWOPERA, FERRMED, BRAVO, TREND, REORIENT, CREAM, RETRACK, UIC projects like ERIM + DIOMIS, together with research councils such as ERRAC and EIRAC, have approached the freight corridors dimension.
NEWOPERA, assuming a growth in transport demand between 2 to 3 times the European GNP, was more ambitious in perceiving the necessity of going beyond the corridors dimension for arriving at a wider and more integrated perspective, by developing a European Rail Freight Network.
The TIGER project rationale was driven by the European need for achieving a higher degree of effectiveness, efficiency and competitiveness on the Rail Freight Network. This was perceived to be the key to a more sustainable freight mobility. Reduction of road congestion, accidents, emission and negative climate change effects would lead to a safer and better environment and improve quality of life for European citizens. Trend breaks in global trade in particular, handled by giant CTS vessels, and brought about by EU enlargement and by the enormous traffic flows with Far and South East Asia, highlighted the impossibility of road modality sustaining by itself future European needs for freight mobility. Port congestion had become a common feature in both North and South Europe to the extent that only a new distribution system to/from ports to inland destinations, based on industrial intermodal shuttle trains, could represent the solution to this problem.
The TIGER project developed and implemented solutions to overcome current congestions affecting EU ports and roads in order to reach inland European destinations in an industrial and effective way.
Main objective was to develop rail transport solutions in competitive and co-modal freight logistics chains. These solutions would be implemented in four demonstrations in different places in Europe. They would address objectives such as improved services in terminals, efficient interfaces between transport modes, organisation of continental shipping, new generation of European freight train systems, development and use of co-modal IT transport solutions, operation of green corridors and best practices for transport, sustainability effects of new logistics and manufacturing systems transport impacts, transport forecasting and globalisation.
Main objective of the project was to assess the maritime CTS traffic outlook, with particular reference to the traffic volumes in the ports and dry port basins of the four demonstration sites.
- Define import/export CTS volumes and future trends from now to 2015-2020.
- Attribute to each demonstrator port the traffic volume to be routed via the gateway/hub concept necessary for putting in place the shuttle/block train services to customers' final destination.
- Dimension these train services and dry port/ mega hub capacity in line with traffic flows coherent with 2015-2020 scenario.
The main objective was to study, plan, engineer and implement a new logistic concept to be applied to each demonstration's work process and procedure.
Consequently, objectives can be summarised as follows:
- Logistics organisation re-engineering
- Layout engineering
- Operational engineering
- Design of rail signalling and control systems
- ERP management
- Intelligent system management and E-Customs control
- Signalling and safety train operation (on non RFI railway tracks)
- Railway transport programming and control
- Container and train tracking & tracing (from port to final market)
- E-Customs/security services.
The TIGER project produced ideas and concrete ways to overcome road congestion in and around Europe's biggest ports by building intermodal freight logistic chains.
TIGER focused on four demonstrators:
- Genoa Fast Corridor
- INNOVATIVE PORT AND HINDERLAND OPERATIONS
- INTERMODAL NETWORK 2015+
The project resulted in the establishment of a new transit business model via dry ports, hubs or mega hubs applied by the 4 demonstrators, and the introduction of an industrial scale operating concept represented a considerable innovation in current European intermodal practices. The feeding of CTS traffic from the ports via gateway dry ports, hubs, and mega hubs, was a change driver and key element of modal shift. This internationalisation work package evaluated and facilitated these changes on a European wide scale. It also provided a basis for accurate evaluation of the impacts resulting from the application of the different solutions implemented in the four demonstrators, and an assessment of their transferability in other parts of the European network.
In essence, the project provided valuable expertise on the following subjects:
- Innovative logistics concepts, tools and connected operations involving personnel at all levels
- Signal & control experts who implement and run the new train traffic control centre
- ICT and Software package experts, who tune the innovative components of the E-management, E-Customs programming & control systems.
- Testing of the total logistics chain effectiveness on pilot scale.
An efficient and integrated mobility system through a Single European Transport Area.
A full scale demonstration phase could be developed, after the pilot phase. Should additional EU funding be assigned to the project, the implementation of full scale demonstrators can be executed.