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Combined Road-Rail Transport


Combined road-rail transport (or “piggyback transport”), allows the movement of goods in one and the same loading unit (45 ft swap-bodies), where the major part of the journey is by rail, and any initial and/or final legs are carried out by road. In France, this mode of transport, highly encouraged by public policy in the last few years, represents 6% of road transport and 23% of rail traffic. Between 2008 and 2013, road-rail combined transport increased by 1.3% - by 3.9% in 2013 alone (Pubilc source, March 2015).

Thanks to piggyback, transport units can be safely moved much more rapidly than by road transport alone. Given that the rail leg can be done during the night, with trains reaching a speed of 160 km/h, the delay of delivery is shorter than it is with 100% road transport.

Le schéma du combiné rail-route chez Promodal

The swap-body

A swap-body is a standardised loading unit used in road-rail transport (pictured in grey in the above illustration). It allows to change means of transport (lorry or wagon) in a multimodal terminal, without handling the goods themselves, like a container. However a swap-body is longer than a container, as it measures 45 ft, or 13m40, equivalent to 33 pallets (80*120cm) inside. As for the height, it can go up to 3 meters.
Moreover in the last few years different types of swap-bodies have been developed; for instance the uncovered lateral tarp for lateral loading.



We offer our clients different types of swap-bodies: tautliner, uncovered lateral trap or van, for secured traffics.

Promodal Une caisse mobile Tautliner

Illustration of a 13.40 m uncovered lateral tarp

Promodal Une caisse mobile fourgon

Illustration of a 13.40 m van swap-body


Promodal Chassis

We handle a fleet of 45 ft chassis among different terminals in order to take care of the operations before and after routing. Theses chassis are essential to our organisation as they allow us to also work.

promodal road trucking
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Ch. de Courtine - BP 90975
84093 Avignon Cedex 9
call : +33 432 75 03 11
fax : +33 490 22 16 51