Port throughputs of Rotterdam and Antwerp continue to grow
In the third quarter of 2019, the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp both report continuing growth.
The port of Rotterdam handled 112.4 million tonnes of freight during the third quarter of 2019. This means a total of 353.5 million tonnes has been transhipped up to the end of the third quarter. Compared with the previous year, this represents a 1% increase in cargo handling. Volume growth was mainly driven by containers, crude oil, LNG and biomass. There was a reduction in the transhipment of coal and mineral oil products.
The total freight volume handled by Port of Antwerp rose from January through September 2019 by 1.1% compared with the same period last year. The container volume (in TEU) was up by as much as 6.4%. However the slowdown in the world economy reduced the growth rate of more volatile trade flows such as conventional breakbulk, liquid bulk and vehicles. On the other hand the volume of dry bulk such as scrap metal, minerals and coal soared by 9.5%, further propelling the overall freight growth for Port of Antwerp.
Second road bridge across Rhine near Karlsruhe can be planned
The banks of the Rhine are heavily populated, but bridges are rare along the Upper Rhine. The existing bridges often are bottlenecks, as the situation around the Karlsruhe road bridge during the ongoing repair work shows – see our newsletter of 5 November. Locations for additional bridges usually are not easy to find, because of population density and ecological sensitivity.
Therefore, a recent verdict of the appeal court of administration for the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which in that region is governing the left bank of the Rhine, is of specific importance to regional transport development: The court of appeal has ruled that planning for an additional bridge in Germany can go ahead. It would connect Karlsruhe on the right bank and Wörth on the left bank and is heavily contested by environmentalists. Another lawsuit is still pending at the court of administration for the State of Baden-Württemberg, on the right side of the Rhine.
Activities of Rail Freight Corridor Rhine-Alpine
On the recent EGTC Rhine-Alpine’s Advisory Group meeting in Cologne, Dr. Christiane Warnecke, Managing Director of Rail Freight Corridor Rhine-Alpine EEIG, gave an “Update on Rail Freight Corridor Rhine-Alpine activities with focus on transport market study and performance management.” The group focused on the recent improvements and remaining challenges of infrastructure services, harmonisation, reliability, and the infrastructure itself.
In this context, the study has shown that longer trains would be the most important single measure to increase shift from road to rail, while it on the other hand will demand high investments: Even if the lines could handle longer trains, only few terminals have sufficient track length. Higher reliability would be a close second, with faster services following in third place. Routes with all three improvements in place would see a substantial rail freight increase.
The Rail Freight Corridor Rhine-Alpine EEIG is a cooperation of rail infrastructure managers along the Rhine-Alpine corridor.