In 1997, the European Commission published a Communication on 'Intermodality and intermodal freight transport in the European Union - a system's approach to freight transport - Strategies and actions to enhance efficiency, services and sustainability' (IMT-001). Council and Parliament responded to that Communication (in 2000 and 2001) in the form of Resolutions (IMT-002 and IMT-003).
The European Commission believes that intermodality and multimodal transport are key elements in the development of a more rational transport system. Intermodality means that there is an integration of the different modes of transport; not only on operational level, but also on management level. Linking the different modes of transport in one chain, by taking into account the unit in which the load is being transported (without splitting up, altering or raising any other limitation to the cargo unit).
In their Resolutions, Council and Parliament pleaded for a continuation of the policy to promote intermodal freight transport by taking appropriate actions. The Resolutions summed up a series of actions, such as the extension of the PACT-programme (which became the Marco-Polo programme), the adaptation of the framework programmes in the advantage of intermodal transport, the establishing of the satellite navigation system GALILEO, the promotion of short sea shipping, and so on.
With the arrival of the 2011 White Paper 'Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area' (see chapter 7), the Communication of 1997 and the responding Resolutions of the Parliament and the Council on the improvement of transport became somewhat outdated. However, no change was brought to the Commission’s positive attitude on intermodal transport.
Some relevant documents:
IMT-003: European Parliament resolution on the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee on the progress of the implementation of the action programme on the communication on intermodality and intermodal freight transport in the European Union (COM(1997) 243 of 29 May 1997) (COM(1999) 519 – C5-0084/2000 – 2000/2052(COS)) (European Parliament)
IMT-002: Council resolution of 14 February 2000 on the promotion of intermodality freight transport in the European Union (2000/C 56/01) (European Council)
IMT-001: Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Intermodality and intermodal freight transport in the European Union, a system approach to freight transport, strategies and actions to enhance efficiency, services and sustainability (European Commission)