Lineas frees up capacity for impacted truckers Oosterweel works

To lessen the impact of the Oosterweel works on Belgian mobility, Lineas is doubling the capacity on its trains in and out of Antwerp. This doubling means the number of containers that can be removed from traffic and put on the railways will increase from 2,600 to 5,300 a week. This was announced on Tuesday 10 September by the Belgian rail freight operator.

Lineas is increasing the capacity on the lines from Antwerp to La Louvière, Genk and Zeebrugge, and is also establishing new connections to Terneuzen and Ghent. These ‘Oosterweel trains’ link the Belgian cities with the main docks on the Left Bank (1742 and 1700) and Right Bank (869 and 913) via its Main Hub in Antwerp, from where trains depart bound for the rest of Europe.

Oosterweel works

The Oosterweel works is a project with the aim to create more capacity on Antwerp’s ring road R1. At present the R1 is not completely closed: in the north-west a part is missing. Due to insufficient capacity, the R1 faces structural congestion, for freight and passenger transport.

In order to solve the bottlenecks and mobility problems in the Antwerp region, a third connection, the Oosterweellink, will be constructed. This will commence in 2020 and is expected to heavily impact traffic in and around Antwerp.

Other modality

Sam Bruynseels, CCO for Lineas: “Our customers are actively seeking solutions to get their cargo out of traffic. With these trains, we are offering them the option to put their cargo on rail earlier. That way, we aim to optimise the freight traffic between the port and inland Belgium and Europe and at the same time improve mobility.”

Tim Mertens, Logistics Assistant at the Antwerp-based chemical company Evonik, confirms the need for smooth transport operations via other modes: “We always strive for the best possible transportation mix for the carriage of our cargo. So we have been looking for a loyal partner for the train link between the Left and Right Banks since day one. Due to the congestion problem in Antwerp, we cannot just rely on road traffic for punctual and flexible transport any more (or not always). That is why we are requesting more rail services in and out of Antwerp.”

Green Xpress Network

The trains are part of Lineas’ Green Xpress Network. This European network consists of ‘open’ trains that run between major logistics hubs daily at regular intervals. Carriers can put their cargo – which may consist of as little as a single container – on the train and therefore avoid the traffic jams.

By doubling capacity, Lineas is able to take 5,300 containers a week out of the Antwerp traffic (compared to 2,600 previously) and the rail operator plans to increase capacity further in the coming months.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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