Extra terminal on Betuweroute open in 2024
The additional rail terminal on the Dutch Betuweroute at Valburg will be constructed, but without cooperation of the Dutch European Rail Terminal (Dert) consortium. The province of Gelderland made this announcement according to sister publication Nieuwsblad Transport. The Gelderland Rail Terminal at Valburg should be able to open at the end of 2024.
Until recently, Dert was the intended operator of the rail terminal to be developed on the Betuwe Route, which has been on the agenda for more than twenty years. The provincial government is now opting for a public tender for the construction and operation, “because then all market parties can compete and it is the best way to develop the terminal”. According to newspaper De Gelderlander, the province of Dert will “pay some sort of compensation” for the costs incurred in recent years, but the company does not want to confirm that.
The announcement shows that the province now realises that maintaining exclusivity for Dert would probably lead to legal proceedings of other candidates. They could argue that the construction would amount to illegal state aid. Dert is a joint venture of Bolk Transport, Giesbers Groep and Willem van den Heuvel, founder and former owner of the BCTN terminal group.
The province is now starting a market survey, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year. In addition, work is being done on the final integration plan, which should be submitted to the Provincial Council next spring. According to the province, the terminal should be able to open at the end of 2024. It is unclear whether that planning takes into account any delay as a result of the nitrogen decision of the Council of State.
Terminal in Valburg
The additional terminal on the Betuweroute has been planned in Valburg as it would be the ideal location to also serve mid-, northern and eastern parts of the country. The terminal could form an additional stop on existing routes to and from the port of Rotterdam too, as there is already a lot of cargo from these regions destined for continental markets.
At the same time, the terminal can be the driver of new continental streams and services, and it could serve smaller ports such as that of Amsterdam, Moerdijk and Vlissingen. Logistics hotspots like Venlo and Tilburg could also benefit from the new terminal in the region.
The municipality of Overbetuwe, in which Valburg is located, is strongly opposed to the current plans and the city council unanimously voted against them earlier this year. The municipality then submitted an opinion with no fewer than 41 objections, including in the area of noise pollution, increased freight traffic and the safety of cyclists.
The province, however, gives high priority to the benefits and calls the terminal “good for employment in the whole of Gelderland”. Other arguments are that “rail transport is more environmentally friendly than road” and that the province with the rail terminal “contributes to the climate goals of Paris and thus directly fits in with European policy”.