The role of standardisation in European intermodal transportation

Amir Gharehgozli*, Henk de Vries, Stephan Decrauw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to study the function of standardisation in intermodal transport. It identifies where standardisation helps to improve intermodal transport, who is active in intermodal transport standardisation, what types of standards are needed and what the decision-making process and implementation of standards should be like to positively influence the performance of intermodal transportation. Design/methodology/approach: An empirical study is designed to carry out this research project. The empirical study starts with a review of the organisations that are responsible for standardisation and intermodal transport, together with the standards that they have developed, and are developing, so far. It continues with analysing the topics where standardisation helps to improve the performance of intermodal transport. The analysis is based on 12 interviews, followed by desk research, to validate the respondents’ statements. Findings: The results show that intermodal transportation should be distinguished in continental and maritime transport, which require different standards. In maritime transport, the hardware aspects of the system are highly standardised. However, further standardisation of information exchange offers potential to improve the quality of transport. For continental transport, challenges appear in the heterogeneity of infrastructure and loading units used in Europe. For both systems, openness and consensus are main requirements for the development of successful standards. Originality/value: Standards facilitate interoperability, quality and safety of intermodal transportation, which leads to better performance. This has drawn little attention in the literature. This study addresses this gap and focuses on Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-168
Number of pages18
JournalMaritime Business Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Infrastructure
  • Intermodal transportation


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