Multimodal transport is a long-standing area of expertise for Road Transport, offering a means of optimising volumes and including services with high added value. This flourishing activity is highly sought after by Road Transport customers, and also addresses environmental concerns. Activity director Olivier Alliès tells us more.

What does Road Transport’s multimodal activity consist of?

Olivier Alliès: Multimodal transport combines several transport solutions (sea, rail, road) in the interests of optimisation. The “fercam” mode (lines on which we operate our own trains linking two cross-docking platforms) represents more than half of our multimodal activity. The main difficulty lies in coordinating the road transport before and after the leg completed by rail. Right now demand is highest on the line we operate between Compiègne (N. France) and Avignon (S. France). Most of our key accounts call on a multimodal solution.

In 2018 GEODIS opened a rail link between Metz (E. France) and Hendaye (SW France) for transfers between Northern Europe and Spain and Portugal. And since October the new line between Milan and Vénissieux has been conveying freight from all over northern Italy for destinations across south-eastern France.

Naturally our multimodal activity is about more than just rail transport. Each year several thousand tonnes of freight are also shipped by river barge to major European ports.

Why is demand for multimodal transport so high among Road Transport’s customers?

Olivier Alliès: Multimodal expertise enables us to lead customers towards innovative solutions providing greater flexibility and capable of handling larger volumes. This is particularly important on long-distance routes. 

But going beyond the transport itself, multimodal business includes services with high added value such as handling bulk hazardous materials, which requires a high level of technical know-how. Our offering is shared between several sites – Avignon, Compiègne, Montauban and Rungis, plus Saint-Quentin-Fallavier for the chemicals sector –, and is geared towards industry sectors such as oil, petrochemicals and energy.

And lastly, safety and security are high on our customers’ lists of requirements. On account of the hazardous nature of some of the goods transported, of course, but also in regard to protecting drivers and the environment. In terms of the latter, multimodal transport is also obviously fully in keeping with the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that most of our customers have set.

“Multimodal transport is fully in keeping with targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions”. Olivier Alliès