What is the modal shift ?

Modal shift means replacing a saturated means of transport with another to make the first less congested. Modal transfer therefore makes it possible to reduce road-only high-volume cargo shipping and replace it with rail or barge transport.

CO2 emissions from the transport sector may drop considerably thanks to the French and European agreements established with the goal of protecting the environment. The creation of a European highway system by 2050 will make it possible to make connections efficiently and competitively. Meanwhile, 50% of road transport will shift to rail or barge transport, thereby reducing transport emissions by 60%.

The future of modal transfers in France and Europe
In order to facilitate modal transfers, the multimodal transport logistics chain needs to be efficient and fluid. Informing and reassuring the customer throughout the process of moving cargo is therefore an essential step. To accomplish this, the European Union has established rail corridors and offered subsidies for transforming and modernising different terminals. These measures make it possible to reduce their environmental impact and make them more attractive due to the reliability of shipping, all while reducing highway congestion and administrative costs.

Réseau Ferré de France is also an important player when it comes to developing multimodal solutions. In 2012, 3.4 billion euros was invested in a total of 1,000 worksites with a goal of modernising the networks and meeting the demand for line mobility and reliability. In 2013, the Network Modernisation Plan will lay out the guidelines to build on this promising start.
The multimodal terminal project in Le Havre (beginning service in 2014) represents a significant contribution to modal transfers. This terminal was made possible by the pooling of skills and financing from Havre Terminal Trimodal and Havre Terminal Exploitation. The terminal's purpose is to increase the share of container and swap body transport to and from Le Havre by using alternatives to road transport. This terminal makes available all of the necessary infrastructures for modal transfers and logistics chain fluidity.

The advantages of modal transfers
Modal transfers have certain inherent environmental, economic, and social benefits:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Forming part of a strategy of sustainable development
  • Reducing negative impacts on sensitive ecological areas
  • Consuming fewer non-renewable resources
  • Saving on fuel costs
  • Reducing operating cost fluctuations related to the price of diesel
  • Decreasing the impact of road transport taxes (Germany's Maut and France's upcoming Ecotaxe)
  • Minimising the risk of infractions and making it easier to follow existing regulations
  • Eliminating night shifts for heavy vehicle drivers
  • Improving equipment management and optimising its use

Implementing modal transfers has many advantages, not only for logistics chain players but also for the general public. Implementing this logistical method can be complicated, given that it calls for an approach based on the complementarity and connectivity of various means of transport. However, the modal transfer experts are here to support you and manage the proper shipment of your cargo.