Transport techniques

UCT and Rola

Intermodal transport combines different means of transport: road, rail, sea and air.


In unaccompanied combined transport (UCT), the loading units are carried by road or by vessel to the transhipment terminals. There they are loaded onto trains to continue the journey by rail, generally over long international distances. Only the loading units - containers, semi-trailers or swap bodies - are carried, while the drivers remain at the terminals. At the destination terminal the consignments are picked up by truck and transported to their final destination.


Unaccompanied combined transport combines the advantages of road and rail and offers an important alternative in European freight traffic. On transalpine routes, it is competitive for distances starting as low as 300 km. Transportation and logistics companies are increasingly shifting their long-distance traffic to the railroad in order to effectively respond to traffic jams, shortage of drivers, rising energy costs and fiscal burdens, and meet the demand for environmentally compatible transports.


With Shuttle Net, one of the largest networks in terms of route density and traffic frequency, Hupac connects the main economic areas of Europe from Sweden to Southern Italy, from Belgium to Russia, from the Netherlands to Hungary. In case of longer journeys, an intermediate transfer takes place. At so-called Gateway terminals the loading units are transferred from one train to another. In this way they reach secondary economic areas, thus benefiting from the advantages of an extensive intermodal network.

Unaccompanied combined transport in brief

  • Transportation of containers, semi-trailers and swap bodies by rail
  • Connections between the main European economic areas
  • Transportation from terminal to terminal or from port to inland terminal
  • Competitive on routes of 300 km and over

The Rolling Highway (known as Rola from the German Rollende Landstrasse) is an important additional service for transalpine transport, which allows trucks without the necessary fittings for unaccompanied transport to cross the Alps by rail. Whole trucks are loaded onto special rail wagons at the terminal. Drivers travel in a separate sleeping car.


Since 1.1.2011, the Rolling Highway through Switzerland has been fully operated by the combined transport operator RAlpin Ltd.

Rolling Highway in brief

  • Transportation of whole trucks by rail
  • Drivers travel in a separate sleeping car
  • Additional service for crossing the Alps
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