Freek van Arkel

Rail freight Netherlands-Italy surged with two-thirds

Nederland, Rotterdam, 2011 Foto; Freek van Arkel/Hollandse Hoogte

Rail freight between the Netherlands and Italy has surged with two-third between 2010 and 2016, concluded Statistics Netherlands (CBS). The Netherlands ships twice as much freight by rail than by road transport to Italy.

Accounting for 15 per cent of all freight transported to and from the Netherlands by rail, Italy is the second biggest rail freight partner for the Netherlands. Around two-third of the total moves between the Netherlands and Germany. However, freight transport to and from Germany has declined, while 2016 witnessed an even steeper increase of the volumes of freight transported between the Netherlands and Italy than in the year before.

Success factors

Rail freight volumes from the Netherlands to Italy surpassed volumes transported by road in 2011, a trend which has continued since then. In 2016, rail freight export to Italy accounted for double the amount as per road for the first time. A good rail connection and sufficient freight to be transported are key in sustaining a feasible railway connection, CBS stated in its report. The opening of the Gotthard tunnel in Switzerland has greatly contributed to the expansion of rail freight on this connection. The journey is now shorter, available to longer trains and can be passed with a higher speed.

For every 100 tonnes transported from the Netherlands to Italy, 83 tonnes found its way in the opposite direction last year. A total of 3088 tonnes was transported from the Netherlands to Italy in per rail, as compared to 1483 tonnes transported per road.

Other figures

Rail freight from, to and within the Netherlands increased by 2,3 per cent, concluded CBS. The total volume accounted for more than 37 million tonnes, of which 93 per cent was transported across its border. Rail freight from and to Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic increased, while volumes decreased between the Netherlands and France, Germany and Switzerland. While freight transport from the Netherlands has traditionally exceeded its import by rail, import is growing faster than export. In 2016, import by rail rose with 4,5 per cent, compared to a 1,6 per cent growth of export.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

Add your comment

characters remaining.

Log in through one of the following social media partners to comment.