Lineas provides plan B for shippers on low-water-level Rhine

As the water levels in the river Rhine are alarmingly low, Belgian rail freight operator Lineas is increasing its offer on key train services along the Rhine. From 15th June throughout the summer, fourteen weekly Xpress services and additional capacity to the Mannheim region will facilitate the shift from barge to rail and ensure the continuity of supply chains.

In 2018, the low water levels in the Rhine prevented barge transport for several weeks. The impact was significant, causing a 0.7 per cent drop in Germany’s GDP that year. Current spring water levels in the Rhine are at the lowest level in five years. To prevent a similar situation from happening again this summer, Lineas has set up a plan to accommodate shippers that want to opt for rail instead.

Switzerland, Slovakia and Mannheim

From 15 June throughout the summer months, Lineas is significantly increasing the frequency on some key lines along the Rhine. In more concrete terms, its Swiss Xpress will be increased from five up to eight round trips per week; its Austria / Slovakia Xpress from three up to six per week. This latter will have regular extensions to Hungary.

Lineas is also increasing capacity on the rail freight service to the Mannheim region. It is adding capacity for up to three round trips per week to Mannheim, Stuttgart and Karlsruhe. In total, these additional services mean 50 per cent more capacity for intermodal volumes on the long-haul trains of Linead in this region.

Pro-active approach

Lars Redeligx, CCO at Lineas: “Seeing the continuous drop of the water level, Lineas has pro-actively scheduled additional connections to ensure that transports can keep flowing. With up to fourteen weekly Xpress trains along the Rhine and additional capacity to the Mannheim region, we offer our customers high frequency and flexible capacity access without the need to book entire block trains.”

“We are also in close contact with barge operators to serve the needs of the market. Multimodal solutions can keep goods flowing in Europe, no matter the weather.”

To Czech Republic

From 15 June, Lineas will also provide a new regular connection between the Ruhr region directly to the Czech Republic, including first and last mile options in the whole country. Lineas already offers frequent train services between Antwerp and the Czech Republic via Falkenberg, but this service will now be extended to include pick-up and drop-off in the Ruhr region.

“There is a keen interest by customers to move their goods directly from West-Germany to East-Germany and especially to the Czech Republic. Via our new connection, we can offer fast, reliable and sustainable transportation”, explained Jan Elfenhorst, general manager of Lineas Deutschland.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

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

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