The Netherlands: 2021 was the busiest year ever

In 2021, rail freight transport from the port of Rotterdam to Germany and vice versa increased by 7 per cent compared to 2020. Compared to 2019, the year before corona, the increase is 3 percent. This was concluded in the annual report ‘Development of rail freight traffic in the Netherlands’ by infrastructure manager ProRail.

According to ProRail, 2021 is “the busiest year ever measured when it comes to the transport of goods by rail”. Never before have so many trains crossed the border with Germany and to and from the port of Rotterdam as last year. This is remarkable, because a lot of construction works and the weather conditions ensured that rail freight transport could not always continue.

Rail freight to Germany increased

Last year, 46,600 freight trains passed the border crossings with Germany. This means that rail freight transport to the eastern neighbours, despite the pandemic, increased by 7 per cent compared to 2020.

Compared to 2020 and 2019, the volumes through the port of Rotterdam grew by 10 and 6 per cent respectively to 37,600 freight trains in 2021. Fewer trains ran to Belgium. In 2021, there were 12,200, a decrease of 7 and 10 per cent compared to 2020 and 2019.

Corona caused freight transport to decline somewhat in 2020. Because the recovery already started in 2020, it is logical that rail freight traffic increased in 2021. The number of freight trains has also been higher than in 2019, mainly due to the start of new container shuttles and more journeys on existing connections.

Construction works

Work in Germany on the third track Zevenaar–Oberhausen and maintenance work between Venlo and Viersen meant that many freight trains had to be diverted. The connection of the Theemsweg route to the Harbour Line also led to disruptions in rail traffic.

Bad weather conditions also caused nuisance, such as the winter weather in February. Heavy rainfall in July caused a lot of damage to railway lines in Belgium and the German Eifel, as a result of which many freight trains to and from the Netherlands were canceled.

This article was originally published on our sister publication Spoorpro.

Author: Marieke van Gompel

Marieke van Gompel is editor of and chief editor of the ProMedia Group online magazines.

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