An analysis of rail freight operational efficiency and mode share in the British port-hinterland container market

Woodburn, A.G. (2017) An analysis of rail freight operational efficiency and mode share in the British port-hinterland container market. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 51. pp. 190-202. ISSN 1361-9209

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The growth in container shipping poses considerable challenges to efforts to reduce the negative externalities associated with freight transport. There are particular concerns about the impacts of the associated port-hinterland freight flows. Through empirical research, this paper examines trends in the operational efficiency of the British port-hinterland container rail freight market and to assess the impacts of any changes on the overall sustainability of this market. Original survey work conducted in 2007 and 2015 has allowed longitudinal and cross-sectional analysis of the characteristics of this market. The survey findings reveal that rail’s mode share of port container throughput (in TEU) has increased from 14.7 per cent in 2007 to 16.6 per cent in 2015 and it is likely that its share of the associated hinterland activity has also risen. Rail was carrying 25 per cent more TEU by 2015 without an increase in train service provision. Increases in mean train capacity and mean load factor were observed, leading to growth in the mean train load from 44 TEU in 2007 to 55 TEU in 2015. This considerable improvement in operational efficiency is expected to have reduced the negative externalities per unit of transport activity associated with the rail-borne hinterland container flows, though scope is identified for further improvements in sustainability.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Port-hinterland; rail freight; container flows; transport efficiency; United Kingdom;
Subjects: University of Westminster > Architecture and the Built Environment
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Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2017 14:27
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2017 16:13

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