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INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
In very general terms combined or multimodal transport means the linking of two or more transport modes under a contractual arrangement which either envisages or permits such a link. 1 Whereas it is possible to focus on the law of an individual mode and to treat links with another mode as incidental, this book puts such links at the forefront of the discussion. In the past the linking of modes in order to provide a through service for customers not wishing to create the link themselves might commonly require the services of an agent such as a shipping or forwarding agent. Alternatively, modal carriers or their agents might sometimes be prepared to take on such a role. Less usually, and commonly linked to the needs of a specific trade, a dedicated service might link modes often on the basis of a joint operation between operators of different modes. Since the Second World War, transport services were transformed by the development of unit load devices to ease the handling of goods and facilitate transfer between modes, most notably the development of the maritime container. 2 This development, in particular, enabled the link between sea and land modes of carriage to be made with ease and facilitated the ability of various kinds of operators to market through transport services. Forwarders and sea carriers were naturally at the forefront of this development. Furthermore, the more recent interest in expanding into the provision of wider-based logistics services has particularly involved both of these types of participants and has in turn been facilitated by developments associated with the container revolution.
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