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3.2 Transportation Corridors

Despite being used for years as a concept, there is no precise definition for a 'transportation corridor'. The World Bank publication Best Practices in Management of International Trade Corridors (Arnold, 2006) provides a descriptive definition that suits the way this term is used here. According to this definition, transportation corridors have both physical and functional elements. In terms of their physical dimension:

• Transportation corridors include one or more routes that connect centers of economic activity.

• The routes have different alignments but common transfer points and common end points, which are gateways that allow traffic to enter or exit the corridor.

• The routes are composed of the links over which the transportation services travel and the nodes that interconnect the transportation services.

• Some corridors are uni-modal, but most involve multiple modes.

• Some corridors are relatively short and defined by a principal gateway like a port; others are defined by the region they serve; still others are defined as part of a network serving a larger region.

As for their functional dimension:

• Transportation corridors provide transportation and other logistics services that promote trade among the cities and countries along the corridor. In fact, most transportation corridors are developed to support regional economic growth. It is for this reason that many transportation corridors are associated with corresponding trade and economic corridors.

• Transportation corridors can be domestic or international.

• A domestic corridor is a designated set of routes within the national transportation network that is used to distribute goods within the country. It includes links and nodes for the various modes as well as nodes that connect different modes and different service areas.

• An international transportation corridor may serve the foreign trade of a single country or several neighbouring countries. It may also connect countries that are separated by one or more transit countries or provide a landlocked country with access to the sea.

In relation to this last distinction, it should be mentioned that the international transportation corridors consist of a number of national ones. As such, they are often characterized by competing functions, conflicting objectives, multiple jurisdictions and different funding schemes for their development and maintenance. On the other hand, they are usually associated with larger volumes of cargo and greater impact on the economies involved.

Corridor A, the corridor from Rotterdam to Genoa is a good example of an

international transportation corridor in the European context (refer to Fig. 3.1). It stretches from the sea ports of Rotterdam, Zeebrugge and Antwerp to the port of Genoa, right through the heart of the EU along the so-called “Blue Banana”. This is the most heavily industrialized North-South route in Central Europe and connects Europe's prime economic regions.

The “Blue Banana” includes economically strong urban centers such as Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Duisburg, Cologne, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Basle, Zurich, Milan and Genoa. All these centers are served and connected by the corridor, also indirectly including London and Brussels. The countries directly involved are The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

Fig. 3.1 Rail Corridor A serving the “Blue Banana” region. Source: Corridor Rhine-Alpine

This outstanding position together with the resulting fact that this corridor carries by far the greatest transport volume in Europe, makes the RotterdamGenoa route with its branch to Zeebrugge and Antwerp the pioneer for international rail freight transportation in Europe.

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