Characteristics of the unaccompanied CT
The most prevalent form of CT is the transport of single containers, swap bodies and semi-trailers, that is to say unaccompanied. For the UIRR companies, this represents about 80% of their routings.
A characteristic element of this unaccompanied Combined Transport is that the loading units are usually loaded vertically between the different modes of transport. This loading is carried out in the Combined Transport terminals by means of gantry cranes or mobile transhipment equipment.
The transport undertaking or logistics company transports the intermodal shipping unit to the departure terminal and is responsible for it being collected at the destination terminal, from where it is then taken to its destination. With this in mind many companies, even of average size, have opened their own office “at the other end”, or else they entrust the remaining roadbound part of the route to a reliable partner.
Unaccompanied transport is more economic due to its better payload/deadweight ratio. The average distance covered by an unaccompanied Combined Transport consignment in Europe is between 700 and 800 kilometres.
Most often used loading units
In principle CT can transport just about any type of goods that can be carried purely by road. Instead of fixed superstructures, the road vehicles must be equipped for this purpose with detachable superstructures. The following loading units are most often used in road-rail CT:
standardised swap bodies, classes A (principally 13.6m) and C (7.15m, 7.45m or 7.82m)
ISO containers of 20' (6.1m), 30' (9.15m) and 40' (12.2m)
cranable semi-trailers (13.6m)
Continental and maritime transport
In unaccompanied CT, it is necessary to make the distinction between continental transport and maritime transport for the hinterland.
For continental transport, it is a matter of connecting the important European economic regions by means of a network of rail links between terminals. All types of loading units are used in this case, in particular swap bodies in conformity with the CEN standards.
In the framework of maritime transport it comes to providing high-quality road-rail CT services for all the large European ports by means of the transport of containers according to ISO standards between the large European ports and the continental hinterland.