According to a report released towards the end of 2005 by the Swedish Institute for Transport and Communications Analysis (SIKA), goods transport by rail will continue to lose ground to road transport up to 2020. The institute’s analysis shows that road transport will continue to account for most of the increase in goods transport. This may be due to the change in character of the goods. Less bulk goods are transported, while more high-value goods, such as electronics and pharmaceuticals, are being transported, with greater logistical demands.
New tools and reloading equipment are required so that unit loads can be moved from one transport system to another without the need for cranes or trucks. Based on a Norwegian idea, “goods shuttle trains” have been introduced between a number of terminals.
The energy use in goods transportation depends mainly on the following factors:
• the unit load
• the degree of intemodality in transport systems
• the design of the logistics system and supply chain
• models and computational tools for the analysis of environmental effects so that attention can be directed to the right issues.
According to an investigation by Trivector (a traffic consulting company), about 70% of the companies questioned had general environmental goals regarding transport, but many did not have any concrete goals, i.e. measurable or timetabled goals. This also applied to companies engaged in environmental measures to a relatively high degree, such as transport companies. The goals that had been set out were mainly concerned with fuel consumption and emissions. The measures that most of the companies were working on were related to logistics and better planning, as well as higher degrees of filling.
Research in the area of energy use in goods transportation is being carried out at the Division of Packaging Logistics.