In Europe, different EU Directives integrate an official definition of CT or Intermodal Transport, i.e., (1) Directive 92/106 on the establishment of common rules for cer- tain types of CT of goods between Member States, and (2) Directive 719/2015 laying down for certain road vehicles circulating within the Community the maximum au- thorized dimensions in national and international traffic and the maximum author- ized weights in international traffic.

1.1.1. Directive 92/106

For the purpose of this Directive, “combined transport” means the transport of goods between Member States where the lorry, trailer, or semi-trailer with or with- out tractor unit, swap body, or container of 20 feet or more uses the road on the initial or final leg of the journey and, on the other leg, rail or inland waterway or maritime services where this section exceeds 100 km as the crow flies and make the initial or final road transport leg of the journey:

  • between the point where the goods are loaded and the nearest suitable rail loading station for the initial leg, and between the nearest suitable rail unload- ing station and the point where the goods are unloaded for the final leg; or
  • within a radius not exceeding 150 km as the crow flies from the inland water- way port or seaport of loading or unloading.

In November 2017, the College of Commissioners adopted a proposal of the Com- mission to revise Directive 92/106 concerning CT. Some core articles have been ed- ited such as Article 1 in terms of its definition as well as new articles that have been drafted. However, in December 2019, the new Commission, under the supervision of the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, released the so-called “European Green Deal” which aims at improving the well-being of people by making Europe climate-neutral and protecting Europe’s natural habitat. The re- lated roadmap contains an action regarding a revised proposal for a Directive on CT to be released in 2021. By the adoption of this action, the previous proposal of the Commission is no longer a topical issue and has been abandoned.

1.1.2. Directive 719/2015

For the purpose of this Directive, “intermodal transport operation” will mean:
I. CT operations defined in Article 1 of Council Directive 92/106/EEC engaged in the transport of one or more containers or swap bodies, up to a total maximum length of 45 feet; or
II. transport operations engaged in the transport of one or more containers or swap bodies, up to a total maximum length of 45 feet, using waterborne transport, pro- vided that the length of the initial or the final road leg does not exceed 150 km in the territory of the Union. The distance of 150 km referred to above may be ex- ceeded in order to reach the nearest suitable transport terminal for the envisaged service in the case of:

a) vehicles complying with point 2.2.2(a) or (b) of Annex I; or
b) vehicles complying with point 2.2.2(c) or (d) of Annex I, in cases where such distances are permitted in the relevant Member State.

For intermodal transport operations, the nearest suitable transport terminal providing a service may be located in a Member State other than the Member State in which the shipment was loaded or unloaded.

Definitions on CT has been also collected from official glossaries such as the Unit- ed Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) terminology on CT, EURO- STAT, and the terminology catalogues developed by industry associations (i.e., within Europe and worldwide).

Terminology on CT—In 2001, UNECE, the European Conference of Ministers of Transport, and the European Commission published a catalogue of principal terms used in CT (or closely related to it).

  • Intermodal transport: defined as the movement of goods in one and the same loading unit or road vehicle, which uses successively two or more modes of transport without handling the goods themselves in changing modes
  • CT: an intermodal transport where the major part of the European journey is by rail, inland waterway, or sea and any initial and/or final legs carried out by road are as short as possible

Glossary for transport statistics, 5th Edition, 2019—The glossary comprises of 744 definitions and represents a point of reference for all those involved in transport statistics. In this edition, the rail, road, inland waterways, maritime, air, and intermodal freight transport chapters have been substantially revised. The intermodal definitions in each transport mode were removed from all chapters and inserted into the updated Intermodal Freight Transport chapter.

  • Multimodal freight transport is a transport of goods by at least two different modes of transport
  • Intermodal freight transport is a multimodal transport of goods, in one and the same intermodal transport unit by successive modes of transport without handling of the goods themselves when changing modes
  • CT: no specific definition

IANA—Intermodal Glossary, 2017–IANA is the industry trade association representing the combined interests of the intermodal freight industry. IANA promotes the growth of efficient intermodal freight transportation through innovation, education, and dialogue. In 2017, IANA published an intermodal glossary.

  • Intermodal transport is the movement of freight, in a container or on a trailer, by more than one mode of transportation. The movement can be made from rail to truck to ship in any order; and
  • CT: no specific definition.