To promote more climate-friendly, less energy intensive and overall sustainable freight transport, the development of highly efficient and low carbon intermodal transport has become a high priority for Chinese policy makers. Multimodal Freight Transport Hubs (MFTH) are important key elements and the foundation of the integrated development of holistic intermodal transport systems. Improving the service level of MFTH will help enhance resource allocation, and promote cost reduction and efficiency improvement, energy conservation and emission reduction of the logistics industry. This is a prerequisite for the efficient, cost effective and climate-friendly development of multimodal transport and key to decarbonize the freight transport sector.
China’s MFTHs have developed rapidly in recent years, the number of hubs has grown steadily, the supporting services of the hubs have been continuously improved, and the benign interaction and interlinkage with surrounding industries have increased significantly. However, the development of China’s MFTH is still in its infancy. Problems such as unbalanced development in different regions, inconsistent facility layout, insufficient connection of transportation modes, poor operation and management performance, and weak functional service ability still exist. Currently, insufficient supervision restrained the country’s MFTH development and further intermodal transport development. Neither the Ministry of Transport (MoT) nor MFTH operators have a unified evaluation tool in place to systematically analyze MFTH’s management performance as well as their environmental and climate impacts.
With the purpose to support Chinese policy makers, operators and other relevant stakeholders on the further improvement of MFTH management performance and service quality toward environmental and climate-friendly development of intermodal logistics in China, the pilot project “Establish & Implement an Evaluation System for MFTH Management in China” is conducted by the Sino-German Cooperation on Low Carbon Transport project in cooperation with the Transport Planning and Research Institute (TPRI) of the MoT.
The objective of the pilot project is to:
- Develop an evaluation methodology for building a comprehensive MFTH management evaluation system in China, with focus on management performance, service quality, as well as air pollution and GHG reduction potentials.
- Apply the developed evaluation methodology in selected pilot MFTHs, to localize, improve and validate the methodology. Results of the pilot implementation will be examined and elaborated into policy suggestions on MFTH performance optimization objectives and measures as to economic, environment and climate indicators.
- Provide a harmonized and standardized MFTH evaluation system for MoT, MFTH operators and other relevant stakeholders to assess, improve and unify multimodal hub management, service quality and environmental & climate performance in China.
- Explore dissemination and upscaling potentials of the MFTH evaluation system in China and facilitate experience and knowledge sharing on environmental and climate oriented MFTH management of intermodal logistics through the Sino-German cooperation.