H&S Container Line is introducing an additional round trip rail service between Andernach in Germany and the two container terminals in the Deurganck dock in the port of Antwerp.
H&S already operates on this route, but is raising the frequency to twice per week with the assistance of financial support from Antwerp Port Authority.
The support offered to H&S Container Line is the result of a Call for Proposals (CfP) launched in October last year by the port authority to attract projects for improving the rail connectivity between Antwerp and the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.
Additionally, B Logistics introduced a new rail service to Ludwigshaven at the beginning of this year, while DB Cargo has begun operating to Wanne Eickel and Mannheim.
The Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions are among the most heavily industrialised in Germany, and thus also the largest generators of cargo.
In 2015 a total of 64 million tonnes of freight was carried between Antwerp and Germany.
Although the majority of the freight from the Rhine region transported to Antwerp arrived by water, a significant portion still goes by road.
The port authority therefore issued a CfP to encourage intermodal operators to introduce a new rail shuttle or to upgrade an existing rail service.
A port spokesperson said: “A significant proportion of the cargo between Antwerp and the German hinterland will also have to be carried by rail in the future. As a Port Authority we want to support all projects that contribute to this essential modal shift.”
H&S Container Line began with a new, direct, open rail connection to Andernach in December 2016. The intermodal train does one round trip per week between Andernach and quays 1700 and 1742 in the Deurganck dock.
Heiko Brückner, CEO of H&S Container Line, said: “The subsidy from the Port Authority will enable us to offer a sustainable rail product both for customers in Antwerp and for those based in the Rhine region, to supplement the already well-developed barge services.”
However, Antwerp’s port spokesperson also noted: “Our financial support has to be limited in order to comply with the rules for state subsidies.”