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New freight transport corridor between the Nordic region and south eastern Europe


Shuttle train provides alternative to congested European roads

The Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) has been investigating a new freight transport corridor between the Nordic region and south eastern Europe. Information on the opportunities offered by the new corridor is of particular importance to companies that export their products to central and south eastern Europe through Poland. The corridor would provide an alternative to the traditional route of congested, high-cost motorways and offer new opportunities for the growing market in an expanded Europe.

The goal of the international research project is to establish a new transport corridor, Pol-Corridor. The project team has surveyed the opportunities for inter-modal transport, i.e. moving goods using two or more modes of transport without the need to handle the goods during transfer.

The project began with a survey of the need for a shuttle train using the corridor. The estimated demand was for some ten freight trains per week. The Blue Shuttle Train would connect two logistic hubs, one in Poland (Szczecin or Swinoucsjie) and one in Austria (Vienna). These terminals would have an efficient feeder network to supply freight by lorry or ship. The present important deliveries made via Gdansk/Gdynia were also investigated. Piloting the shuttle train operations in Poland and the Czech Republic is scheduled to begin before the end of 2005.

VTT has co-ordinated the creation of the information service architecture for the corridor. This provides the framework for information transfer between those involved. The architecture will help IT companies find new customers and applications for their system products on an international market. This was the first survey of commercial systems based on Finnish generic architecture in international freight traffic.

The survey showed that the current information systems (of Finnish, Czech and Polish origin) are well suited to the information needs of international transport. The strengths of the Finnish systems include their applicability across different modes of transport. The prospects on the system products market are good, although challenging. For example, integrating different systems into a functional solution on the international level will not be easy, nor will migration to new inter-operable information systems be simple for the customers.

The project has promoted the establishment of co-operation networks and new partnerships between IT companies and railway operators. Finding a party interested in the practical implementation of the idea is a challenge yet to be resolved. The application of efficient information systems will promote the international freight transport business.

Pol-Corridor is a European technology co-operation project under the EUREKA initiative. The project is part of the development programme for E-Business Logistics (ELO) financed by the National Technology Agency of Finland (Tekes) and the programme for the promotion of electronic commerce in the Baltic Sea region (TEDIM). VTT has led the information service architecture development and acted as national project co-ordinator in Finland.

Irene Hernberg | alfa
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