Port of Antwerp event champions intermodality

photo: Steven Oskam http://www.railcolor.net/

The benefits of intermodality & multimodality have been championed at a Port of Antwerp-hosted summit aimed at shifting more freight from road to rail. CEO Jacques Vandermeiren opened the 5th annual gathering of shippers and intermodal operators with a presentation on sustainable development and intermodalism.

Among the speakers was Geert Pauwels, CEO of B Logistics, one of Belgium’s principal multimodal operators. He highlighted the success of its ‘Green Xpress’ service, which includes a recently-launched route between Antwerp and Sweden.

He said the services they offer can beat road transport in terms of cost, reliability, flexibility, frequency and convenience. Mr Pauwels also used the event to announce the launch of a new rail connection between Antwerp and Mannheim/Ludwigshafen in Germany, which will open the door to the vital Rhine and Neckar industrial regions.

‘Test’ service

B Logistics also recently handled the final stage of the ‘Fresh Food Corridor’ train from Wioppy in France to RSC Waalhaven in Rotterdam, a service which originated in Marseille. This was a ‘test’ service organised by the European Commission for the long-haul transportation of fresh foods across the continent.

The success of the service, said B Logistics, had shown there was a ‘speedy and reliable’ rail alternative for the movement of fresh goods over a long distance. It follows the example of the refrigerated rail service launched by The Colruyt Group, providing a environmentally attractive alternative to fresh produce shippers.

Modal shift

B Logistics already operates a regular freight service linking Belgium and Sweden; the Sweden Xpress links Antwerp/Ghent with Malmo, reflecting what it says is a ‘growing demand’ for a modal shift towards rail. It operates some 350 intermodal services, along with more than 700 single wagon load trains and 850 block trains.

Mr Pauwels said that he, along with the entire organisation of B Logistics, considered it their ‘social duty and mission to achieve the modal shift to rail’, adding: “By developing a competitive and quality rail alternative, we offer a solution for the industry and ports to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a better mobility.”

Author: Simon Weedy

Simon is a journalist for RailFreight.com - a dedicated online platform for all the news about the rail freight sector

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