33,5 million euros investment aims to make the North Sea Port a rail hub

The Belgian infrastructure manager Infrabel and the Belgian government will invest an additional 33,5 million euros in the Ghent part of North Sea Port in the coming years. The plans foresee the addition of new tracks and the renovation and extension of the existing ones to ensure faster access to the terminals and better access to the European hinterland.

Infrabel wants to increase freight transport by rail and is therefore investing in large freight flows. North Sea Port wants the share of freight transport by rail to increase from 9 to 15 per cent to make transportation between the port and the European hinterland more sustainable.

As a result, Infrabel and North Sea Port will invest in rail infrastructure at both the Kluizendok dock on the left bank of the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal and the Mercatordok dock on the right bank.

Ring railway, more and longer tracks

At the Kluizendok, the existing bundle for pre-sorting freight trains will be expanded from four to eight tracks with a length of 750 metres. In the future, there is the possibility to extend to sixteen tracks.

In addition, a new ring railway will be constructed that will connect to the ITM container terminal next to the canal, and that will provide better access to the companies around the dock. Finally, there will be a study for the connection of the Kluizendok with a new track to the existing railway line to Terneuzen.

The tracks near the Mercatordok dock will also be reconstructed: the existing six tracks will be extended to 750 meters to accommodate container trains, among other things. The expansion allows companies such as Volvo Car Gent, Stukwerkers and DFDS to improve access to the Ghent-Göteborg scheduled service and increase rail capacity.

Railway lines reconstructed

In addition to the investments near the Kluizendok and the Mercatordok, Infrabel will renovate some existing railway lines. The rail manager makes it possible to realise additional rail connections in the port in the future. The rail expansions at the Kluizendok and the Mercatordok will eventually lead to more freight transport. This transport passes the nearby Ghent-Zeehaven marshalling yard.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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