INTERVIEW

This Dutch trimodal terminal has big dreams for rail

Image: OOC Terminals

The OOC trimodal terminal is located in the heart of the Netherlands on a crossroad between the port of Rotterdam and Germany’s industrial and logistics powerhouse in North-Rein Westphalia. The site recently received a rail licence which signals a new era: “railway handling is entirely in our hands”, comments the terminal’s director, Eric Nooijen, adding that “we want to grow rail even more”.

OOC serves rail, water and road. As a trimodal terminal, it focuses on its transhipment capacity. However, rail freight gradually becomes the main focus and the most popular of the three modalities.

“Since 2020, we have a strong focus on rail-related activities”, narrates Nooijen. “We receive break bulk, dry bulk and liquid bulk volumes, and we can serve a variety of wagons and containers”, he continues, explaining that the terminal also receives trains from Ukraine as agricultural products occupy most of its dry bulk business.

“Before 2020, we used to also do intermodal, especially to and from the port of Rotterdam”, he underlines. However, OOC stopped the intermodal business because of its strong focus on near-service areas and the big competition that did not lead anywhere.

Transhipment and long-distance services

“Rail currently brings the most important flows at the terminal”, says Nooijen, who expects more growth in the coming years. The terminal started focusing more on rail in 2020; however, trains have been arriving there since 2009. “Most of our service providers do long-distance services, and we focus on transhipment services to other modes and locations”, he explains.

“The railway system to the terminal has developed in coordination with ProRail and the local government. The line is modern, and only the part between the Oss railway station (the town in which the terminal locates) and the terminal is not electrified”, explains Nooijen. Additionally, OOC has two 150-metre-long railway tracks in the bulk terminal, while in front of the site, there are two more tracks that are 550-metre long. “Unfortunately, limitations in the rail infrastructure do not allow receiving longer trains”, says Nooijen.

Image: © OOC Terminals.

‘The terminal is in our hands’

How will the new rail license benefit the terminal, though? As mentioned, all trains going to OOC pass through the railway station at the neighbouring town of Oss and complete last mile services to the terminal by diesel traction.  OOC used to buy these services by rail providers. As a result, the terminal faced some limitations adjacent to the provided services.

This changes now. “We want to take this last mile service in our own hands and shape the processes to optimise terminal utilisation”, says Nooijen, explaining that with the new rail licence, the terminal will be able to offer more train handling capacity.

“This is quite a thing”, he continues, “since we do not have to rely on others’ decisions anymore”. He mentions that because before the license arrived, OOC cooperated with eight different companies for the last-mile services. Sometimes these companies stopped their operations in short notice.

On top of that, those companies mainly wanted to focus more on their own business and release their labour and assets. “Now, we will do everything by ourselves and offer a real One Stop Shop with a superb service”, concludes Nooijen with optimism.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

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

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This Dutch trimodal terminal has big dreams for rail | RailFreight.com
INTERVIEW

This Dutch trimodal terminal has big dreams for rail

Image: OOC Terminals

The OOC trimodal terminal is located in the heart of the Netherlands on a crossroad between the port of Rotterdam and Germany’s industrial and logistics powerhouse in North-Rein Westphalia. The site recently received a rail licence which signals a new era: “railway handling is entirely in our hands”, comments the terminal’s director, Eric Nooijen, adding that “we want to grow rail even more”.

OOC serves rail, water and road. As a trimodal terminal, it focuses on its transhipment capacity. However, rail freight gradually becomes the main focus and the most popular of the three modalities.

“Since 2020, we have a strong focus on rail-related activities”, narrates Nooijen. “We receive break bulk, dry bulk and liquid bulk volumes, and we can serve a variety of wagons and containers”, he continues, explaining that the terminal also receives trains from Ukraine as agricultural products occupy most of its dry bulk business.

“Before 2020, we used to also do intermodal, especially to and from the port of Rotterdam”, he underlines. However, OOC stopped the intermodal business because of its strong focus on near-service areas and the big competition that did not lead anywhere.

Transhipment and long-distance services

“Rail currently brings the most important flows at the terminal”, says Nooijen, who expects more growth in the coming years. The terminal started focusing more on rail in 2020; however, trains have been arriving there since 2009. “Most of our service providers do long-distance services, and we focus on transhipment services to other modes and locations”, he explains.

“The railway system to the terminal has developed in coordination with ProRail and the local government. The line is modern, and only the part between the Oss railway station (the town in which the terminal locates) and the terminal is not electrified”, explains Nooijen. Additionally, OOC has two 150-metre-long railway tracks in the bulk terminal, while in front of the site, there are two more tracks that are 550-metre long. “Unfortunately, limitations in the rail infrastructure do not allow receiving longer trains”, says Nooijen.

Image: © OOC Terminals.

‘The terminal is in our hands’

How will the new rail license benefit the terminal, though? As mentioned, all trains going to OOC pass through the railway station at the neighbouring town of Oss and complete last mile services to the terminal by diesel traction.  OOC used to buy these services by rail providers. As a result, the terminal faced some limitations adjacent to the provided services.

This changes now. “We want to take this last mile service in our own hands and shape the processes to optimise terminal utilisation”, says Nooijen, explaining that with the new rail licence, the terminal will be able to offer more train handling capacity.

“This is quite a thing”, he continues, “since we do not have to rely on others’ decisions anymore”. He mentions that because before the license arrived, OOC cooperated with eight different companies for the last-mile services. Sometimes these companies stopped their operations in short notice.

On top of that, those companies mainly wanted to focus more on their own business and release their labour and assets. “Now, we will do everything by ourselves and offer a real One Stop Shop with a superb service”, concludes Nooijen with optimism.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

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

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