Inderscience Publishers

The role of contracts in achieving effective governance of intermodal terminals

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Public sector actors often provide financial or planning support to intermodal terminal developments with the aim of achieving societal benefits through modal shift from road haulage to rail transport. Once operational, such terminals exhibit a variety of governance models with varying levels of power and responsibility shared between public and private actors. This paper reviews a selection of contracts between rail infrastructure owners, terminal owners, terminal operators and rail operators in order to determine the incentives, commitments and risks involved in specifying such responsibilities between actors. The two markets analysed are Sweden and the UK, with similar histories of liberalisation of rail operations. In the Swedish context, terminal infrastructure owners, usually public actors, want to act as landlords but continuously find themselves involved in daily operational and commercial situations. In the UK, long leases on token rents mean that few commitments or investments are required by private operators as long as they remain in use and allow open access. Policy implications are discussed and recommendations made for future research.

Keywords: governance, intermodal terminals, regulation, policy, rail, freight, public-private partnerships, risk, lease

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