Mind the gap!

Publication date: 
22 Feb 2021

For years, everyone has been talking about shifting traffic from road to rail. But not much has happened so far. There was a lack of approaches as to how this could be implemented. There were no actors who were willing to take a risk. And there was always a lack of time, because freight flows cannot wait.


But then came the pandemic and with it the supply bottlenecks, for example in the area of supplier parts for the automotive industry. Questions quickly arose in industry and logistics about the design of processes: Do we perhaps need to rethink our supply chains? Is the just-in-time principle sustainable in the long term? Wouldn't it make more sense to "play it safe" in supply chains?



Security and sustainability of supply chains

The pandemic has once again made it all the more clear: Security of supply and sustainability are the major challenges we now have to face in the 'post-Covid era'. 


Rail transport can contribute significantly to solving these challenges: because rail is sustainable, reliable and predictable!


As the largest European chemical cluster and hub for chemical goods, the Port of Antwerp has a fundamental and important function for the global flow of goods. Despite the pandemic, our port was able to hold its own comparatively well in 2020: container volumes even increased and exceeded the 12 million TEU mark. If things continue like this after Corona - and it can be assumed that they will - the road for onward carriage to the hinterland will reach its load limit. Security of supply is thus endangered in the medium term; sustainability is not a given for this mode of transport anyway because of the CO2 emissions.


The road for onward carriage to the hinterland will reach its load limit. Security of supply is thus endangered in the medium term.


It is therefore fitting that some rail operators have now connected the port of Antwerp to their European networks. We reported on these new rail connections to and from Antwerp at a virtual get-together on 9 February 2021 - and met with great interest.


We wanted to inspire and motivate shippers and importers, shipping companies and freight forwarders to make more use of the opportunities offered by rail as a mode of transport. My wish? In my blog post at the end of the year, I would like to be able to report that we have succeeded.

Are you joining us strengthening rail together and thus ensure security of supply and sustainability in the long term?


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Elmar Ockenfels

Port Representative Germany/Switzerland
+49 151 11 67 55 97

Uferstrasse 21
55116 Mainz