A conference on matters of intermodal terminal design as well as operations and information technologies, placed in a global perspective with a focus on intermodal operations, was organised in Fort Lauderdale on 13 November.
The conference took place the day before the start of the annual Expo of the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) and was organised by UIC, IANA, International Container Bureau (BIC), Coordinating Council on Transsiberian Transportation (CCTT), Eno Transportation Foundation, European Intermodal Association (EIA), Lithuanian Technology Platform of Intermodal Transport (LITTP), and the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL).
About a hundred participants from several continents attended the conference and UIC was represented by Eric Peetermans, Chairman of the UIC Combined Transport Group. He also introduced and moderated the conference module on Equipment Identification and Capacity Management.
Klaus Ebeling, Secretary General of EIA, and Joni Casey, President and CEO of IANA, introduced the opening session. Eric Peetermans shared the conclusion and closing remarks of the conference with Ted Prince, CEO of T. Prince and Associates LLC.
From the European side, Erich Staake, CEO of Duisport, Gang Chen from the Centre for Maritime Research of the University of Southern Denmark, Per Rosengren from Cargotec Corporation, Klaus Woeste, Product Manager for Gottwald Technology, Uwe Sondermann from KombiConsult, Frank Nachbar, Director of Container Engineering for Hapag-Lloyd, Gennady Bessonov, Secretary General of CCCT, Algirdas Sakalys, President of the East-West Transport Corridor, and Pietro Spirito, Managing Director of Interporto Bologna, illustrated several relevant topics. Michel Hennemand, President of BIC, introduced and moderated the module on the interaction with the network.
Distinguished speakers and moderators from other continents were Barry Michaels, Vice-President of Intermodal Operations for Union Pacific, Ronaldo Hultmann, Director of the Brazilian Container Chamber, Edward McQuillan, Senior Solutions Consultant for RMI, Wilby Whitt, President of CSX Intermodal Terminals, Nathaniel Seeds, Vice-President of Operations for the Americas Region for APL, Tom Kelly, Director of Systems Hub Operations/Technology for BNSF Railway, and Robert Huffmann, Vice-President of Intermodal Operations for Norfolk Southern Corporation.
The topics discussed during the conference were about:
- How intermodal transportation participants handle the exchange of equipment, freight – and ultimately responsibility – while maximising operational efficiency and ensuring full regulatory compliance,
- The terminal’s product: lift hardware, computer software, terminal design, operating processes and change management,
- The scope and success of regulatory compliance and operational efficiency on the development of sophisticated equipment identification methodologies,
- How terminals manage capacity and offer best practices for handling multiple products, customers and modes within a single facility,
- Finally, the role of the terminal as a node within an overall global transportation network and how the success of each is dependent upon efficient and reliable transfers.
All the presentations made at the conference can be found on and downloaded from the UIC Extranet.
In their closing remarks and wrapping up of the conference, Ted Prince and Eric Peetermans underlined the particular nature of Intermodal Transport and in particular the operations of the terminals, where cooperation between all the actors is at a premium. They noted that in the present context of a rapid traffic rebound and of strong long-term growth perspectives for intermodal where demand will most likely increase faster than capacity, the capacity issues – on the network, in the terminals and of rolling stock availability – come to the forefront again.
They concluded that one of the aims of the conference had been to share experiences and insights on how to increase terminal capacity and improve capacity use and their impact on the network. The conference succeeded in this regard: all the speakers communicated interesting views from different perspectives and contributed to developing a shared comprehension of the subject.
It will be decided how and under what format this conference will be repeated in the future.