In the EU legal framework (see Section 1.2.1), the terms “intermodal loading unit” (ILU), or “intermodal transport unit” (ITU), are not fully defined but in that they are identified by the types of units: semi-trailer, trailer, swap body, container, and road vehicle. The Commission proposed a Directive on ILUs in 2003 which was at the end revoked. In this prior proposal, ILUs were defined as either a container or a swap body.

In contrast, official glossaries (i.e., UNECE and EUROSTAT), industry standards (i.e., CEN), and European projects (e.g., COSMOS) have compiled a complete set of definitions related to the equipment transported in CT.

UNECE glossary, 2001

  • Loading unit: container or swap body
  • Intermodal transport unit: containers, swap bodies, and semi-trailers suitable for intermodal transport

Glossary for transport statistics, 5th Edition, 2019

  • Loading unit: container or swap body
  • Intermodal transport unit: container, swap body, or semi-trailer/goods road motor vehicle suitable for intermodal transport

EN 13044–Intermodal Loading Units–Marking, Part 1: Markings for identification, 2017

  • Intermodal loading unit: loading unit suitable for European intermodal transport on road, rail, inland waterway, and sea, which is not an ISO-container according to ISO 830 (among others swap body, semi-trailer)

COSMOS–Marco Polo project, 2014

  • Intermodal loading unit: ISO Container (i.e., freight container, according to ISO 668, 1161), standardized inland container (e.g., bulk, silo, and tank), swap body (i.e., according DIN-EN 284, 452), and semi-trailer