Intermodal Transport and Repositioning of Empty Containers in Central and Eastern Europe Hinterland

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The objective of this article is to provide a review of literature dealing with empty container repositioning. This review is interlinked with a qualitative data analysis based on semi-structured interviews with representatives of ocean carriers, which are key actors determining empty container repositioning. Empirical evidence obtained from fieldwork in the Czech Republic, albeit limited, is used to illustrate empty repositioning management by ocean carriers in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) landlocked hinterlands, which have been neglected in research with a specific geographic scope. By addressing the research questions and conducting the analysis, the authors determine whether empty container repositioning is a problem only concerning equipment allocation by an ocean carrier or requires a collaborative resolution involving various parties engaged in container movements in landlocked hinterlands. This article confirms that most existing literature dealing with empty container repositioning ignores the actual dynamics of landlocked hinterlands as well as business practitioners' perspective. The authors' analysis of the empirical research complements and challenges the reviewed research studies. Based on the analysis, ocean carriers seem to be unwilling to revise their actual container management strategies focused on maritime repositioning, disregarding the potential and importance of intermodal repositioning approaches based on market collaboration. Regarding further research directions, the authors suggest the research replicability and its extension.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Pages (from-to)73–82
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Empty container repositioning
  • Intermodal transport
  • Landlocked hinterland

Cite this