The results presented in this article identify the role of costs in the scientific and grey freight terminal handling literature and analyses the handling costs of different terminal sizes. The literature review shows that handling costs only play a marginal role in the scientific research in intermodal rail freight terminals (IRT). This is remarkable given the large role costs occupy in decision-making in freight transport. Furthermore, the used cost levels show a wide range of proposed amounts and terminal sizes or handling technologies are seldom addressed. Finally, many of the scientific papers do not make it clear whether the average transhipment cost or market price is referred to. Next, the analysis of the investment in, and cost structure of, IRTs shows that IRT investments are very capital-intensive leading to relatively high average costs per handling. However, given the cost characteristics of IRTs, the average cost per handling represents the underlying cost structure and are – in this sense – representative. The cost analysis demonstrates that extra-large IRTs actually have the lowest average handling costs, followed by small IRTs.
- handling costs
- Intermodal rail terminals