Journal of Transport Geography, Special Issue on Comparative North American and European gateway logistics
The dominance of road for hinterland services could be challenged by using rail-road or waterway-road transport because of costs, congestion and growing environmental constraints. A common dynamic that is very favorable to the development of combined transport is shared among the actors of the transport chain but with different starting positions considering the ports of the Northern Range.
But combined transport must still demonstrate that it can compete with road transport. Road transport and combined transport are not directly comparable because they do not offer the same physical transport service. The organizational patterns of road and combined transport are investigated. The example of hinterland services to and from the port of Le Havre to the Paris region is a particularly interesting case because of the very short distance. It is shown that the competitiveness of combined transport in terms of price varies greatly according to the way road transport it competes with is organized and that the commercial policy of combined transport operators plays a key role for explaining this competitiveness. Additional services such as additional dwelling times and specific custom advantages are paramount of importance to encourage the shift from road transport to combined transport.