The challenge of appropriate hub terminal and hub-and-spoke network development for seaports and intermodal rail transport in Europe

Ekki Kreutzberger, Rob Konings

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    To achieve the modal shift projected by public transport policies, intermodal rail transport needs to improve its performance in order to become more attractive. Hub-and-spoke (HS) bundling is an option to improve its performance. It potentially increases the attractiveness of intermodal rail freight services, also for flows that are too small to fill a direct train on the required frequency level. HS bundling can be carried out in different ways (types of hubs, trains and operations). Only some of them lead to competitive transport services. This paper argues that – in many situations – the best HS network employs terminal hubs and shuttle trains, and that the hub terminal should be a real hub terminal. A real hub terminal is designed to fulfil its main function, rail-rail transhipment, effectively and efficiently.

    Despite their apparent advantages HS networks with real hub terminals are penetrating the market at a very slow pace. The paper discusses major barriers for a faster implementation, and advocates a change of perception of rail operators, and also of public transport policies. It is recommended that the development of hub terminals is supported by public vision-making and cooperative or more centralised network design within the sector.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-96
    Number of pages14
    JournalResearch in Transportation Business and Management
    Volume19
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2016

    Keywords

    • Intermodal rail transport
    • Hub-and-spoke rail networks
    • Hub terminal
    • Terminal innovation

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