For several years, the promotion of intermodal transport has been a priority for the Spanish and European authorities (Cuerda et al., 2003; Conseil National des Transports [CNT], 2005) but the importance and the recent growth of rail transport in Spain is extremely small compared to road transport. This is more so in the case of small and medium-size companies shipping general (non-bulk) cargo, which almost exclusively use the road (Ministerio de Fomento, 2004). The establishment of a network of intermodal freight transport centres connected to the main railway lines and close to the main cities is viewed as an opportunity for the modal shift, and also the establishment of relevant intermodal corridors dedicated to specific freight purposes (ore, agricultural products), to be defined at a European level, should improve the overall figures. But nevertheless, there is the feeling in Spain that more attention should be given to general traffic issues, facing the needs of the great amount of small companies moving small amounts of freight, but with an enormous aggregate effect. Thus the strategic objectives of our work lie within the rationalization of mobility and the improvement of intermodal accessibility. They concentrate on establishing the basis for a higher participation of small and medium-size companies in intermodal transport by analyzing the specific experiences of an individual transport company, based in the city of Seville, seeking an enhancement of the modal shift within its logistic operations. This work is organized as follows: In section 2 we describe the role of intermodal transport in the supply chain. In Section 3 we list the actors involved in all phases of intermodal transport to then show the decision-making model for each one of these actors. In Section 4 we apply this model to the case of a transport company based in the South of Spain, describing all the shipment and cost data. Finally, in section 6 we explain our conclusions drawn from the decision making model in general and in particular for the case-study company, and analyze the effect of additional factors (other than cost) in the decision-making process with respect to intermodal transport.
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