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Combined road-rail transport (CT) is very demanding in terms of safety and security, particularly when intermodal loading units are being transported by rail. At terminals a so-called “check-in” procedure is carried out to ensure, firstly, the end-to-end safekeeping of the damage documentation required by each company involved in the transport chain and, secondly, the greatest possible safety and security during transport by rail.

Here we would like to tell you about the function of terminal check-in and its procedure, use actual examples to illustrate essential safety criteria and transport guidelines for selected types of loading units, and pass on important information about identification codes for loading units and the transport of hazardous goods and waste.

Please note that this information simply covers the basic essentials and does not claim to take into account every eventuality. More detailed information can be obtained from our Kombiverkehr agency staff.

Function of terminal-check-in

The main purpose of terminal-check-in is to identify and document any possible damage or defects in loading units which are sent by customers by road or for reloading. The aim is to have consistent end-to-end damage documentation within the chain of transport. During terminal-check-in the loading unit is also inspected to make sure that it is fit for handling and forwarding. This means that loading units are inspected on arrival by check-in staff to ensure that they are fit to be transported and handled before a final inspection by the relevant railway operator prior to departure by rail. Any potential transport hitches can be detected as soon as the loading units are delivered so, ideally, the problem can be rectified on the spot, thus avoiding a refusal to transport a loading unit by rail.

Examples of common defects or damage leading to a refusal to transport are:

  • Missing or invalid codes or hazardous goods labels.
  • Load shift, caused by missing plug-in panels or inadequate securing of freight.
  • Damage to customs labels or missing customs seals.
  • Open or inadequately secured doors and tarpaulins.
  • Serious damage to grappler pockets or corner castings.

Please note that the relevant railway transport operator reserves the right to a final inspection of, and decision on, the suitability for dispatch of the loading unit.

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Terminal-check-in procedure

On arrival at the terminal and prior to transport being handled by the agency, the loading unit first undergoes a visual inspection by check-in staff. The findings are then documented in a check-in log. In total, three copies are produced: one each for the delivering transport company, the agency and the terminal operator. The check-in staff, the lorry driver from the transport company and agency employees all acknowledge receipt of the log.



The check-in log is used to document, amongst other things, existing damage, any special features on the loading unit, such as the presence of seals or any hazardous goods or waste labels, and general suitability for dispatch. On receiving authorisation for transport from check-in personnel, the lorry driver hands over a copy to agency staff so that the dispatch order can be issued. Should the delivered loading unit not be authorised for dispatch, the check-in log must still be submitted. In such cases the subsequent course of action is agreed between agency personnel and the delivering transport company. Ideally, it may still be possible to take specific corrective measures to make the loading unit suitable for dispatch in the short term.

Be sure to deal with any obvious defects or damage to your loading unit prior to delivery to the terminal, in order to avoid any cancellations of shipments or unnecessary laid up time at the terminal.
Terminal-Check-In Brochure

Our terminal-check-in brochure will give you an overview of key safety criteria and guidelines for the transport of intermodal loading units.

Who to contact
for Terminal-Check-in: