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In the era of sustainable development, reducing the impact of transportation on the environment is a top priority. For example, overland or road transport in France accounts for 80% of all goods delivered and is responsible for 10% of total CO2 emissions.
Considered as an alternative to the shipment of goods by truck, intermodal transportation is currently being touted by the European Union. This type of transportation consists of keeping the goods to be delivered in the same loading unit or road vehicle—in other words, without stuffing or stripping, and using fewer different means of transport.
Piggybacking, or rail-road transport is, according to the European Union, a type of “intermodal transport whose main means of transport is rail and whose beginning and end means of transport by overland hauling, is as short as possible.” This kind of transportation began to appear 40 years ago, with the aim of limiting the development of all road transportation and its consequences: the saturation of road infrastructures, adverse environmental impacts, stringent legal restrictions, poor adaptation to long distances, etc.
It is important to draw a distinction between rail-road transport that is non-accompanied (trucks, semis, swap bodies and containers are put on the train and transported without the presence of a conductor) and that which is accompanied (the whole truck is put on the train and travels with its conductor). Piggybacking is a particularly good solutions for trips that exceed 500km or require more than 8 hours of driving, regular deliveries and balance for the trip out and back, or if the merchandise is high density or has specific security requirements. In France, two rail-road routes are now in service (Chambéry / Turin and Perpignan / France), and two others are in the project phase (the Atlantic rail-road freeway and the extension of the French-Italian line). In addition to supporting sustainable development and reducing road traffic, piggybacking helps to improve the logistic chain and offers numerous advantages to its users—economic, logistical, social and environmental.
Despite these arguments, the development of piggybacking is stagnating. It accounts for only 5% of transport in Europe and 4% in France. In fact, the lack of adequate infrastructures and uniform regulations are the main problems. In addition, piggybacking does not currently offer the option of real-time tracking of merchandise in transit or instructed temperature transport.
Unlike shipping by sea, the major strength of shipping by train, for the insurer in any case, is that it enables door to door transport of goods without any break in the load, since the container is the only thing that is handled during transshipment. This eliminates the need for handling and storage in transit, which in turn considerably reduces the risk of damages due to such things as breakage and jostling, bad weather conditions and theft. In the end, the risk management level is thus enhanced.
Contact : Evelyne Salles, Underwriter firstname.lastname@example.org