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Combined Transport

Der Kombinierte Verkehr
Combined Transport (CT) describes freight transport in which the various strengths of different means of transport (rail, ship and truck) are combined. During a CT transport, the loading unit (usually container) is moved between the different modes of transport. 

The term "intermodal transport" is often used for the term CT. Strictly speaking, CT is a sub-form of intermodal transport. Both terms are defined by the UN/ECE as follows:
Intermodal transport: 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. By extension, the term intermodality has been used to describe a system of transport whereby two or more modes of transport are used to transport the same loading unit or truck in an integrated manner, without loading or unloading, in a [door to door] transport chain2.

Combined Transport (CT): Intermodal transport where the major part of the European journey is by rail, inland waterways or sea and any initial and/or final legs carried out by road are as short as possible.

(vgl. Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE), “TERMINOLOGIE DES KOMBINIERTEN VERKEHRS”, UNITED NATIONS, New York / Genf, 2001)

Would you like to know more about combined transport? Then visit the Intermodal Info. The free information website on all aspects of CT.

What is combined transport?

How does transshipment in combined transport work?

Combined transport chains usually consist of a first-, main-, and last leg. Characteristically, the main leg forms the longest transport section, which is covered by rail or inland waterway. The first and last leg in is carried out by truck and is defined by German Road Traffic Regulations (StVO 2013 § 30) according to the distance to/from the nearest suitable terminal and according to the modality of the terminal:

  • From/to rail-road terminal: max. 200 km distance
  • From/to waterway-road - terminal: radius of max. 150 km distance (as beeline)
Transportabschnitt 1Info

Advantages of CT

Here you will learn more about the business and economic advantages of combined transport.


Here you will learn more about the market segments in combined transport and what players are active in this markets.

Access to CT

Are you interested in using combined transport? Here you can find out how to get access to CT.
Politische Rahmen

Political framework

Here you will learn more about funding opportunities, existing plans and standards and guidelines for CT.

CT glossary

Would you like to look up relevant terms relating to the CT industry? Here you can access the CT glossary.

Facts of CT

Here you will find the most important key figures for combined transport in Germany.