Who is the customer that pays for intermodal trains e.g. from Felixstowe?

dmncf

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4 Sep 2012
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I was wondering about intermodal trains that carry a variety of customers' containers on one train (rather than examples like the Tesco train that have a single customer). For example, GBRf intermodal trains from Hutchison Ports' Port of Felixstowe to Verdion's iPort in Doncaster (https://container-mag.com/2019/05/22/gb-railfreight-launches-new-service-felixstowe-doncaster/) or to Maritime Transport's Wakefield Europort (https://www.globalrailwayreview.com/news/119178/gbrf-felixstowe-wakefield-intermodal-service/).
Does the coastal port or the inland destination pay for these trains to run? Or does everyone with a container on the trains pay individually, like passengers paying for a seat on a passenger train?
 
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Fawkes Cat

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Or does everyone with a container on the trains pay individually, like passengers paying for a seat on a passenger train?
I suspect that broadly, this is it. Someone (TrainCo) decides there’s money to be made by running this sort of train, so they book a slot for the train to run, so TrainCo is Network Rail (or whoever)’s customer: then companies who want to move containers (ContainerCo1, ContainerCo2 and so on) book spaces on TrainCo’s train so they are TrainCo’s customers. No doubt there are various dodges and wheezes (ContainerCo1 contracts for a dozen containers on every train and so gets a cheaper rate but doesn’t have to use every slot, ContainerCo2 pays as it goes so never pays for an unused slot but is not guaranteed a place, and so on) but I strongly suspect that that is the basic model.
 
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Having been an end user of container based shipping, this sounds basically right. Much the same as arranging a courier when shipping a parcel really.

Continuing FawkesCats model, ShippingCustomer1, ShippingCustomer2 and so on just contract a ContainerCo to move their box from A to B, and are quoted for such, usually with a variety of speeds and securities costed (air vs sea, depot to depot or end to end, possibly road vs rail etc) and choose a 'route'. Unless you're booking a whole train/plane, the ShippingCustomer gets no real say in which boat, plane or train it'll be on but you do get updates or tracking info.
 

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