The Port of Dunkerque has launched a new rail service to the east of France, the Flandres Express (FLEX), as part of continuous development for its combined transport plan.
Operated by Nord Port Shuttle (NPS) the FLEX service will offer a weekly round trip during the start-up phase with Metz, an inland port within the Lorraine region.
Stéphanie Raison, president of the executive board of Dunkerque-Port, said: “The start-up of the FLEX service is a new step in the development of the containerised port of Dunkerque, which is also France’s leading rail port.
“With this shuttle, NPS will offer a differentiated service, likely to create new opportunities for modal shifts in the heart of a very dense economic region.”
The service is designed so that it is timed perfectly with various regular shipping lines calling at Dunkerque, especially the Ocean Alliance Asia service.
NPS has gradually developed a network of containerised river services between Dunkerque and the main inland ports of the Hauts-de-France region.
In order to provide greater flexibility, the operator plans to quickly increase the frequency of the FLEX shuttle to service two round trips per week.
The slot for the second rotation is already included in the transport plan for the traction provider FRET SNCF.
NPS’ president, Ferenc Szilagyi, said: “The new service between Dunkerque and Metz is a real alternative for Lorraine’s market participants; a simplified, civic, environmentally-responsible solution…
“Going through Dunkerque also makes it easier to connect to the AP+ port system, with transit via a French port and the last mile covered by a local partner. It shows proximity to market has priority.”
The service was launched on June 5, 2019, during the European Sustainable Development Week which aims to stimulate and make visible activities, projects and events that promote sustainable development.