Supporting policy

Antwerp is one of the biggest European rail ports: over 18 million tonnes of cargo are transported by rail every year. The port invests heavily in rail as a sustainable mode of transport. With the Master Plan for Rail Transport, the Port Authority outlined an ambitious policy for the further development of rail transport.

Development of the rail network

To support the growth of rail transport, the rail network in and around the Antwerp port area continues to expand.

Liefkenshoek rail tunnel

The Liefkenshoek rail link is a 16.2 km connection between the Left and Right banks of the Scheldt river. This rail link entered operation in December 2014 and has a capacity of 109 freight trains per day in each direction.

It offers a time saving of more than half an hour while affording greater reliability of operation and improved rail access between the port and its hinterland.

Capacity expansion of rail access

Rail access to the port on the right bank will improve in the coming years with the construction of a fly-over, among other things. This should increase the capacity of the principal access rail by approximately 30% to guarantee the growth of rail transport over time.
In the longer term the aim is to achieve further capacity growth by the construction of a completely new, second rail access. The final design should be agreed upon in the coming years.

Iron Rhine

A renewed, high-quality rail connection of Antwerp with the German area of Nordrhein-Westphalia via the Iron Rhine route is also on the agenda. This railway line gives the Port of Antwerp a direct and cost efficient connection with the principal German and Central European rail networks and regions. Reopening the Iron Rhine would be a perfect supplement to the Montzen route connecting Antwerp and Aachen.


Optimisation of rail transport in and to the port

To make a wide range of qualitative rail connections possible, the Port Authority provides the right preconditions for the rail market.

  • Liberalisation of last mile-activities, such as specialised rail shunting services, an open system for the transport within the port, uniform shunting-engines and the neutral use and operation of the shunting bundles.
  • Provide public refuelling stations for diesel engines on both banks in co-operation with Infrabel. The Left Bank Development Corporation is currently investigating the possibility of installing a permanent fuelling station on the East side of the rail fan Zuid on the left bank. At the right bank, steps are being taken to build an additional fuelling station close to Antwerp-North shunting station.
  • Construct ‘open’ installations for the maintenance of wagons and engines.
  • Development of a transport buffer for hazardous goods railcars (RID) on the left bank of the Scheldt. A second transport buffer is planned on the right bank.
  • Operational improvements for easy rail access to the Deurganckdock terminals on the left bank.


Facilitating new railway connections

To expand the rail offer, the Port Authority established Antwerp Intermodal Solutions. This neutral service desk closely cooperates with terminals, intermodal operators and cargo owners to facilitate new intermodal services or to increase the frequency of existing ones with European growth regions that currently have little or no connections with Antwerp.

Some objectives of this intermodal cell:

  • bringing new target regions within the reach of the port by means of new intermodal solutions;
  • positively influencing the modal split.


Koen Cuypers

Senior Advisor Intermodality & Hinterland

Antwerp Port Authority
Port House
Zaha Hadidplein 1
2030 Antwerp

Katarina Stancova

Advisor Intermodality & Hinterland
0032 3 229 6679

Antwerp Port Authority
Port House
Zaha Hadidplein 1
2030 Antwerp