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Issue 6 2012

CargoBeamer plots European growth >> 1

transferred on to rail wagons, using a roller-

bed type system. CargoBeamer’s CEO, Hans

Juergen Weidermann claimed several advantages over other multimodal systems. It would be able to use completely standard semi trailers; other ‘piggyback’ type systems that rely on cranes to liſt units on and off trains require that the trailers are specially strengthened, adding cost and a weight penalty. Only around 2% of the European road trailer fleet has been suitably modified, he said. The CargoBeamer terminals

would be significantly cheaper than cranes, he continued. Moreover, they would allow a


trainload to be transferred within 15 minutes, compared with typically five hours for a crane terminal. As the pallets would be detachable from the rail wagons, truck drivers could simply unhitch trailers once they had deposited them on the

pallet; there would be no need to wait for the train’s arrival. Similarly, an incoming train could offload its entire load of trailers on their pallets within minutes and then be on its way, greatly improving rail wagon productivity. Careful management would be necessary to ensure that all the pallets did not end up at one end of the line, said Mr Weidermann. There would also be a sophisticated electronic tracking system. The system would also be ideal

for transferring trailers between two trains at ‘break of gauge’ points on the European rail system, where tracks of one country are built to a different gauge from the neighbouring country – for example between Poland and Lithuania or France and Spain. In an interview with FBJ, Hans Juergen Weidermann said that a second design of wagon suitable for the Russian rail gauge was being developed. A CargoBeamer terminal is being built as part of the Calais Premier

scheme to turn the French Channel port into an intermodal transport and logistics hub. This would be the first commercial terminal although a prototype has been set up at the company’s Leipzig base. The company is investing €20- 25m in a phased implementation. First operations will start in 2014 but using mobile cranes. The CargoBeamer modules will not go into operation until 2015 with 1-2 trains a day and it is envisaged that the terminal will be in full operation with 8-10 trains a day by 2020. Further stages of the CargoBeamer

network envisage other east-west services to, for example, the Czech and Slovak republics and further destinations in Germany, Poland and the Baltics. Services southwards into Switzerland and Italy would follow at a later stage, but there are currently no firm plans to operate into the UK. Presumably, the restricted UK loading gauge or the need to find scarce paths on the High Speed 1 link would make it difficult to operate


trains carrying full-height trailers. However, Mr Weidermann said he hoped that the service would reach the UK one day. However, Britain is envisaged as a major market, with British truckers accessing the service via either the short sea ferry services or Eurotunnel’s shuttles. Mr Weidermann said that rail

wagons would be able to carry a trailer weighing up to 37 tonnes at up to 120kmph (75mph). It would also be possible to provide plug-in points for reefers. While he envisages that most CargoBeamer wagons would operate as dedicated services, it might also be possible to add small numbers of wagons to ‘mixed’ freight trains to reach smaller and more remote terminals. Locomotives will be provided by DB Schenker subsidiary, EuroCargo Rail. He added that a major

automotive customer had been signed up as one of the first customers; further details would be revealed in about one month’s time.

Calais logistics scheme gathers pace

The new CargoBeamer terminal will be an integral part of the Calais Premier scheme to develop a major transport and logistics hub at the port of Calais. Didier Caudard-Breille, president of DCB International, the scheme’s

developers, said that a construction permit had been obtained for the first 50,000sq m building in the first phase and that a permit for a second similarly-sized building was expected within weeks. However, ICPE ‘authority for use’

certification was still required for the two buildings. A major logistics company

company was interested in operating the first building as a multi-user facility, but a formal announcement would have to wait

until all the necessary permits had been obtained. The CargoBeamer terminal

would be sandwiched between the two buildings and further warehouse units could be built in later stages of the development.

described the process as critically important. He said:

“The three

licences cover navigation issues in the river during the construction of the new port plus our plans for managing the material we dredge and environmental considerations. We have taken great care to anticipate potential objections but we operate in an extremely competitive marketplace and it is not unknown for rivals to raise objections at the eleventh hour, causing applicants extra cost and delay. If that happens we want to ensure we have the backing of our local community and influential business figures and politicians. So much is at stake, and I’d like this to be a real cause celebre.” The Port even had an exhibition

stand at the recent Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham and has started a campaign to inform MPs and MEPs of all parties about its investment programme. Gary Hodgson added: “The MMO consultation ends on 5 November and, assuming we get no serious delays, we expect to get the formal go ahead early in December. A completion date of 2015 very much in our sights.” Doug Coleman, programme

director of L2 at Peel Ports told FBJ that while there was so far no suggestion that there would be any objections to Peel Ports’ plans, he could not be certain of this until the

2007) an objection to the Marine Management Organisation licence was unlikely to halt any scheme, but it could delay its implementation. But Peel Ports had ensured that

its audits had been as robust as possible and “I would like to believe that we have covered all the bases,” said Coleman. Peel Ports’ main concern is

to ensure that its new facility is ready in time for the opening of the Panama canal to ultra large container carriers, expected in late 2014 or sometime in 2015, which will have profound effects on the global container shipping industry and which could markedly increase the maximum size of ship that operators would wish to put into Liverpool. Mr Coleman ruled out any ‘tit for

tat’ action against other ports that had lodged objections saying that if that were to happen, it would be “a very sad day” for the industry. He added that the planning

system was already “unbelievably complex” with a large and growing list

of non-statutory bodies

needing to be consulted. “The red tape just gets worse, and the cost is frightening” he told FBJ. “The tortuous planning process is a frustration to any development and I think it should be reformed, to make it easier for important infrastructure developments to get off the launch pad.”

Merseyside on tenterhooks

>> 1 at Ports

interest groups, some of them as

far away

as the Isle of Wight, stretching out the process over years, or even a decade. Meanwhile, nerves are jangling Peel

on Merseyside,

where consultation by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on licences for its planned new Liverpool Two container terminal was due to end on 5 November. Oſten, ‘vexatious’ objections, where the object is to delay rather than prevent a development going ahead are lodged at the last minute, so Liverpool is not counting its chickens until they are hatched. Managing director Gary Hodgson

consultation period had officially closed. He explained: “Based on past

experience, if there is to be a vexatious objection, it will be received towards the end of the consultation period.” Consultation on the Peel Ports’ plan was due to end on 5 November. Such tactics, which are

essentially aimed at forcing a rival port to ‘restart the clock’ would maximise the amount of delay so caused by triggering the process as close to the end of the first period of consultation as possible. Mr Coleman explained that

where the Secretary of State has granted a Harbour Revision Order (as with Liverpool in

Liverpool lobbied politicians at the Tory conference

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