New solutions for increasing freight flows

Publication date: 
27 Mar 2019

Hinterland rail services between Switzerland and Antwerp on the rise.
Switzerland and the Belgian port of Antwerp are moving closer together. Since the beginning of this year alone, two scheduled services have been added linking Antwerp by rail with Basel and Frenkendorf. But also inland navigation plays an important role on this route, as the Antwerp Port Authority made clear on Tuesday at the General Meeting of the Propeller Club, Port of Basel.

The demand for intermodal scheduled services is growing. Logistics companies and railway operators are reacting to the requirements of the industry and are expanding their hinterland services accordingly. At the beginning of this year, Schweizerzug AG had increased the frequency of its services between Switzerland and Belgium. The operator offers four instead of previously two round trips a week between Frenkendorf near Basel and Antwerp. In addition, the Frenkendorf terminal and the Niederglatt terminal near Zurich are now connected on a daily basis, so that shippers in Eastern Switzerland can also benefit from this. In addition, the railway operators Hupac and Lineas offer eight and five round trips a week between Basel and Antwerp respectively.

Other railway operators have also reacted to the rising flow of goods. Since 22 January 2019, the Antwerp - TriRegio - Express has been transporting containers twice a week between Antwerp and Basel Bad station (Ubf). The operator of this new rail product is the Contargo AG, which thereby also creates an alternative in the event of bottlenecks on the Rhine. However, the Rhine remains a particular advantage of Antwerp for Swiss shippers. Basel is directly connected to the Belgian port by inland waterway via daily scheduled services.

"The port is not only a hub for imports and exports. We are also a reliable partner for the entire supply chain. This includes working together with logistics companies, railway operators, terminals and ports in the hinterland on sustainable and future-oriented solutions. As a port authority, we are particularly interested in making our expertise available here,"

explains Luc Arnouts, Director International Networks, Antwerp Port Authority.  It is the declared aim of the Port Authority, as a community builder, to promote cross-sector cooperation within the port itself and beyond in order to implement its five strategic goals which are sustainable growth, mobility, transition, safety & security and operational excellence. Antwerp is working together with partners in the hinterland on the digital transition of the supply chain, for example, e.g. in the sector of inland navigation.

Antwerp in Basel

More than a dozen companies from the Antwerp port community presented themselves at an evening event organised by the Swiss Logistics Association. They presented the logistical opportunities and value-added services at Europe's second largest seaport and explained the potential for further expansion of traffic flows. Previously, the port representatives had met with companies from the SpedLogSwiss forwarding association to discuss topics such as customs including e-desk and import processes as well as the actionplan for barge and rail products in the Port of Antwerp. Switzerland is regarded as an important trading partner for the Belgian seaport, which last year set a new handling record with 235 million tonnes.