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Container Railfreight Services in North‐west Europe: Diversity of Organizational Forms in a Liberalizing Environment

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The institutional environment of rail transport has changed as a result of recent European directives, but the changes have taken different forms from one country to another. In the case of international maritime chains, the development of door‐to‐door services makes inland haulage from the loading and discharging ports extremely important, and it highlights the need to reshape the rail freight industry. This paper analyses the degree of involvement of different actors drawn from the maritime industry in developing and commercializing rail services in the changing regulatory environment. Several maritime operators, shipping lines, port‐handling companies and port authorities have been involved in some container rail services since the early days of liberalization. Their commitments take very different forms, however. Whereas contracts are mainly used for the provision of service, particularly for train haulage, integration by means of shareholding or creating subsidiaries or joint ventures is used for marketing. Important differences between France, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands are detailed. In the latter two countries, there is more involvement in the provision of rail services. Marketing rail services appear to be the main strategic issue for the maritime operators in all four countries
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: INRETS—French National Institute for Transport and Safety Research, Arcueil, France

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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