Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Port Of Amsterdam Expands Rail Freight Connection Into Europe

Betuweroute Provides Direct Link to Germany and Beyond
Shipping News Feature

NETHERLANDS - Keyrail, the Dutch commercial operator of the Betuweroute, the dedicated freight rail line that runs from the port of Rotterdam to the border in Germany, who have been cooperating with Prorail to open the arches near Meteren, have completed the works and now, as of this week the Port of Amsterdam will be connected to the system. This means the port has expanded a non stop freight rail connection into the hinterland via the railway connection near Meteren/Geldermalsen.

It is a significant milestone in strengthening the position of the Amsterdam port in the European hinterland and indeed allows the city of Amsterdam to benefit from the rising interest in rail as a sustainable transport alternative. Cees Tommel and Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, managing directors at Keyrail described the connection to the port as a “wonderful contribution”.

Port of Amsterdam’s president and CEO Dertje Meijer pointed out his company’s intent to develop the rail facilities further saying:

“The Port of Amsterdam, as a shareholder of Keyrail, is delighted with the hinterland’s improved accessibility by rail. With our bulk the Amsterdam port provides a large volume of cargo to Germany. Rail is a wonderful modality compared to road transport and a great supplement to inland navigation. The direct connection to the Betuweroute is a significant and strategic supplement to the accessibility of the Amsterdam port by means of inland navigation and road transport. But the connection near Meteren does not stand alone. The Port of Amsterdam, with a view to the future, has been investing in a new rail connection to the Afrikahaven and in improving the harbour complex’s connection to the Dutch railway network.”

Amsterdam has a key role in meeting German buyers’ need for pit coal. Closing mines in Germany means the manufacturing industry and the energy sector as well will be experiencing a rising need to import pit coal from overseas. The first train using the arches near Meteren was a DB Schenker train destined for Plochingen in Germany. The train was pulled by two electric locomotives able to serve on both the combined railway network and also on the Betuweroute. The train consisted of 48 four-axled freighters with a total weight of 4,400 tons. Coal trains are considered the heaviest trains in the Netherlands.

Recently the number of trains using the Betuweroute has increased considerably. By the end of 2010 Keyrail estimate about 350 freighters will be utilising the system on a weekly basis.