Rhine-Alpine News

Frankfurt Metropolitan Region: Overview of all regional goods transport projects

Photo (Martin Brandt): Routing goods transport in Frankfurt Metropolitan Region

Frankfurt Metropolitan Region is one of Europe’s central economic areas, located right at the Rhine-Alpine corridor. Reducing regional goods traffic is an aim of the region. First, that means understanding the various aspects of goods traffic. Then there are many possible ways to deal with it.

Institutions within Frankfurt Metropolitan Region have done this for a number of years. They collected the many resulting projects on a website, with links to respective project info. This may be of interest to other urban regions.

Find the list here (external link, German language).


Deepening of Nieuwe Waterweg and Botlek complete

Photo (Rotterdam Port Authority / Danny Cornelissen): Celebration of deepening the waterway

The Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) and the Port of Rotterdam Authority celebrated the completion of the deepening of the Nieuwe Waterweg and Botlek. One of the busiest waterways in the Netherlands has been deepened by a metre and a half across a distance of 25 kilometres.

Find the whole news here (external link).


Netherlands to re-introduce sleeping car service along lower Rhine

Photo (ÖBB / Harald Eisenberger): nightjet train

After Deutsche Bahn terminated its classic night train service in 2016, large parts of central Europe could no longer be reached by train overnight. Austrian national rail operator ÖBB stepped in with a number of services and has since further expanded its network. These days, the transport ministry of the Netherlands has announced an agreement with ÖBB to extend its Düsseldorf services into Amsterdam, along the Rhine-Alpine corridor. Trains will offer sleeping cars, sleeperettes as well as coaches. This goes with a subsidy of 6.7m Euros for the first three years of service (2021 – 2014).

Editor’s note: Breaking down that amount to more than 1000 days with one inbound as well as one outbound train each, and assuming roughly 300 seats/beds, would result in a subsidy of roughly 10 Euros per seat or bed offered.

Read the whole news here (external link / Dutch language)

Rhine-Alpine News

Port of Köln-Godorf: Broad local coalition halts expansion plans

Photo (HGK Köln): View of Godorf port

Godorf, a port area in the south of Köln, was foreseen to get a larger container terminal. These plans have been halted by a broad coalition of local politicians in the municipal assembly, citing a lack of growth in the container sector as well as availability of alternatives in the vicinity. At the same time, the local clean air plan has been tightened, resulting in more restrictions for truck transport across the city.

The debate around the specific port area includes questions of local container transport routes on the road network, available capacities outside Köln, as well as natural protection. While the city bans certain traffic, business institutions declare a resulting growth of overall truck transport.

Find relevant statements here (external link, German language).


Construction of new breakwater at Vado Ligure near Genova

Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority has published a €80 million ($88.5 million) tender for the executive design and construction of the first phase works of the new breakwater of the port of Vado Ligure. The tender starting price is €77.89 million, including €627,000 for design costs and just over €1 million for security charges. The offers can be presented until 12.00 on Wednesday 30 October.

Find the whole news here (external link).


Town of Lahr elected logistics manager as Mayor 

Photo (Stadt Lahr): Markus Ibert with family on election day

Markus Ibert, manging director of startkLahr Airport and Business Park, this Sunday was elected mayor of Lahr. Lahr is a German town of 46,000 in the Upper Rhine Valley between Strasbourg and Freiburg and member of the EGTC Rhine-Alpine. startkLahr develops the area around Lahr airfield, a former Canadian air base. It has attracted many logistics related businesses.

In the State of Baden-Württemberg, the position of the mayors is very strong. They serve as heads both of the local administration and of the municipal assembly; their term is 8 years. In the second round of the local election, Ibert received 55% of the popular vote. He succeeds Wolfgang Müller, who was in office for 24 years and did not seek re-election. Ibert is not member of a political party; the local chapter of the Christian Democratic Union backed his campaign.

For detailed info, see www.lahr.de (external link, German language).


Rhine-Alpine News

Traffic increases at Strasbourg port

Photo (PAS): Container facilities at Strasbourg port

PAS, the Strasbourg port authority, reports a significant upswing in traffic for the first half of 2019: River transport is up 6.3%, reaching a total of 3.8 million tons from January to June. Rail traffic showed an even stronger increase, by a full 16% to more than 700.000 tons. The increase of rail traffic was mainly caused by container transport.

Read the complete news here (external link, French language).


EU supports Venlo-Kaldenkirchen rail link

Among the international railway lines that will get financial support from the EU along the Rhine-Alpine corridor, there now is also the Venlo-Kaldenkirchen (-Viersen) link. Today it serves partly as a regional passenger line and mainly as a suitable freight bypass of the German main railway line from the Ruhr area to Emmerich. It is located about half way between Emmerich and Maastricht/Aachen. On the German side, the stretch between Kaldenkirchen and Viersen is a single track bottleneck. The money (5.8 million Euros) is intended to improve track and stations for the use of freight trains.

Read the news here:

External link, Dutch language.

More on this railway link on Wikipedia (external link).


Hydrogen-powered tug is world first for Port of Antwerp

Illustration: Port of Antwerp

Port of Antwerp has ordered construction of a tug powered by hydrogen, the first in the world. This unique “Hydrotug” is driven by combustion engines that burn hydrogen in combination with diesel. The motors also comply with the very strictest standard, the EU Stage V, making them the lowest-rated for emissions on the market. This ultra-low-emission tug is being built by Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), a pioneer in the field of hydrogen power for shipping. With this world first Antwerp is making an important step in the transition to a sustainable, CO2-neutral port.

Read the full article here (external link).

Rhine-Alpine News

KLM to connect Amsterdam airport with Brussels by train

The problem: Most passengers on short distance flights to and from the main hubs want to connect with medium and long distance flights. The prospect of missing the flight due to train delay therefore in many cases is prohibitive of going to the airport by rail. Only when the rail segment is legally integrated into the flight journey, in such events the passenger will automatically be forwarded by the airline. This is the case in a Lufthansa deal with Deutsche Bahn: It treats some seats on selected regular Deutsche Bahn trains to and from Frankfurt airport as Lufthansa flights (see screenshot).

Screenshot: Today’s example of a rail connection treated as airline flight (DB/Lufthansa)

KLM now prepares to offer a similar service using a Thalys express train between Brussels and Amsterdam airport, treating it as a “flight”.  This step is part of KLM’s commitment to “Fly Responsibly”, which aims to create a sustainable future for air transport, but it also reflects commitment to the sector plan “Smart and Sustainable”. Next to that, KLM is faced with slot restrictions at Schiphol. By replacing short-haul flights with rail services, scarce slots can be used for services to long-haul destinations. Rail services will maintain feeder traffic to Schiphol, while network quality improves thanks to the more varied range of available destinations.

Read the complete news here (external link).


Genoa: New container record in July

Photo: Port of Genoa

The growth of containerized traffic in the port of Genoa continues: in July it touched 250,000 TEUs, the highest monthly volume ever.

The Genoese terminals of Sampierdarena and Pra’ have registered the highest level of containerized traffic ever, totaling 249,892 TEUs (+ 7% compared to the same month of 2018), with particularly high performances by the PSA Genoa Pra’ terminal (beyond 150,000 TEUs equal to + 10.1%) and by the Genoa Port Terminal of the Spinelli Group (approximately 44,000 TEUs equal to + 26.6%).

The July result consolidates the positive trend recorded in recent months and allows the port to recover the slowdown felt in the first part of the year. Looking ahead, maintaining the current trend, the port can reach an increase of around 4% by the end of the year, projecting the final balance above 2,700,000 TEUs.


Cool with liquefied natural gas: RWE and duisport officially open LNG fuel station

Photo: duisport

Minus 161 degrees and 1/600 of the normal volume – that is Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Service vehicles in the Port of Duisburg will be able to drive with this gas effective immediately. Duisburger Hafen AG and RWE Supply & Trading GmbH opened the joint LNG fuel station with a ceremony during this year’s RWE Energy Dialogue, RWE’s industry customer event. The mobile fuel station is the first step towards an LNG infrastructure – with the objective of establishing LNG as an environmentally-friendly fuel in the Port of Duisburg. The LNG fuel station is part of the effort to establish a functioning application environment for this fuel in the region.

Read the full article here (external link).

Rhine-Alpine News

The first vessel for the second edition of CII left the Port of Genoa

Photo: Ports of Genoa

With a brief ceremony, Cosco Shipping Lines together with the Chinese Embassy, the Port System Authority of the Western Ligurian Sea (represented by the President Paolo Emilio Signorini) and PSA Genoa Prà wished good luck to all the Italian companies attending the second edition of the China International Import Expo (CIIE). On August 29 the first expedition left with destination Shanghai and boarding in the port of Genoa, PSA Genova Pra’. The loader is Pharsmart Srl, a leading company in cosmetic products, supplements and medical equipment; the goods, boarded in two 20′ refrigerated containers, were loaded on September 2 on a ship belonging to the fleet of the “Ocean Alliance”.

Read the complete news here (external link, Italian language).


Port of Antwerp: Ecological footprint lags behind freight volume and industrial output

Port of Antwerp is taking important steps to become the sustainable port of the future. This is the clear message of the fifth Sustainability Report published today by the port community. Development of the port must go hand-in-hand with the largest possible contribution to society, according to the report. Published every two years, it summarises the main economic, ecological and social indicators. These demonstrate the areas of sustainability in which the port is doing well, but also where additional efforts are required.

Read the full Sustainability Report here (external link).


Erich Staake of duisport to join the Logistics Hall of Fame

Photo: Hafen Duisburg AG/Frank Reinhold

The new member of the Logistics Hall of Fame is Erich Staake. The Chairman of the Executive Board of Duisburger Hafen AG, a member of the “Interregional Alliance for the Rhine-Alpine Corridor EGTC”, was elected as “modernizer of inland port logistics” among 30 candidates from nine nations to the international Hall of Fame of Logistics.

Erich Staake is the man behind the `wonder of Duisburg`. With his logport concept, he has achieved a task of the century in logistics in less than 20 years by transforming Duisburg’s regional port into a leading logistics hub in Europe. He not only set a logistical milestone, but also gave Duisburg a new perspective,” according to the jury of experts, which includes 70 well-known personalities from business, science, politics and the media in 13 nations.

Staake is the 35th member among the world’s most renowned logistics experts. The 65-year-old manager from the Ruhr region will be officially admitted on December 5 on the occasion of the annual Logistics Hall of Fame reception in the Erich-Klausener-Hall of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure in Berlin.

Read the complete news here (external link).

Rhine-Alpine News

Germany: Federal „Innovationsprogramm Logistik 2030“ updated

Photo (BMVI): Steffen Bilger, vice minister and the German federal government’s coordinator for goods transport and logistics

With the Rhine-Alpine corridor running through Germany, the position of the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure on corridor related issues is key for many corridor related actors and their activities. These days, the ministry has updated its “Innovationsprogramm Logistik 2030” under the leadership of Steffen Bilger, vice minister (“Staatssekretär”) and the German federal government’s coordinator for goods transport and logistics.

A general explanation of the action plan can be found here (external link).

The program has 10 fields of action. (Please note that these are not official translations):

1: Digital infrastructures, data processing and platform solutions.

2: Digital transport management across transport modes – digital supply chain.

3: Professional world of the future.

4: Steering towards climate protection with innovative goods transport.

5: Interlinked transport world.

6: Clever track, intelligent railway.

7: Intelligent ports and waterways.

8: Innovative air cargo.

9: Road of the future.

10: Ways for the last mile.

Each field of action comes with a set of targets and intended measures. They are explained here (external link, German language).

A main purpose of such a program is to focus the work of a ministry. Any idea or request that reaches the ministry in this field may have better chances if it aligns with the program’s fields of action, its targets, and/or its proposed measures.

Therefore, please find the complete program here (external link, German language).

Photo (Martin Brandt): Combined transport on the Rhine; container ship towing transport barge with new trucks

Rhine-Alpine News

“Diamond” crossing now in monitoring process

Photo (Province of Zuid-Holland): Traffic on the “diamond” motorway crossing

This newsletter on 28 May 2019 reported about the opening of an innovative motorway crossing along the RijnlandRoute in Leiden (Netherlands), called the “diamond”. Meanwhile, it is carefully watched for adaptions that may be necessary.

More information on this external link (Dutch language)


Brussels, 10 October 2019: “Green and Smart Mobility: new solutions for the mobility of the future”

What are the newest solutions carmakers and service providers are coming up with to solve technological challenges regarding battery electric and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles?
How can deployment of shared, clean, smart and on demand mobility solutions for people and freight help cities in dealing with congestion, better use of space, livability, clean air and inclusion? How are policy makers managing the infrastructural and industrial transition involving these new technologies?

The Verband Region Rhein-Neckar will organize a joint event with the provinces of Flemish-Brabant and North Brabant on the topic of “Green & Smart Mobility: New Solutions for the Mobility of the Future”, held at the representation of Baden-Württemberg State in Brussels on 10 October 2019.

Join the event if you want to discuss the above issues.

Please find the invitation with more details here (programme and registration, external link)


Brexit: Antwerp and UK strongly linked to each other

Photo: Port of Antwerp

Each year over 16 million tonnes of cargo are being transported between the Port of Antwerp and the UK. This makes the UK the second maritime trade partner of the Port of Antwerp. Conversely, the largest market for the United Kingdom is still continental Europe. “Brexit creates new opportunities. The modal shift from accompanied to unaccompanied transport in particu­lar, puts Port of Antwerp, as the second-largest port in Europe, at the advantage to become the gateway to and from Europe for the UK and Ireland”, says Wim Dillen, Brexit task force president, Antwerp Port Authority.

Read more here (external link)

Rhine-Alpine News

Railways: Water instead of herbicides

Photo (SBB): Test train for vegetation control

Railways use herbicides on a large scale to keep their track free of weeds. In the past years, these chemicals were under attack because they may cause cancer. Therefore, railways are looking for alternatives. Along the Rhine-Alpine corridor, the work of Swiss national railways (SBB) may exemplify this trend: SBB tests equipment that will detect unwanted plants and fight them with hot water instead of chemicals. A detailed report can be found here:

External link (German language)

External link (French language)

External link (Italian language)


Project H2SHIPS launched for hydrogen bunkering and propulsion for shipping

The project H2SHIPS will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of hydrogen bunkering and propulsion for shipping and will identify the conditions for successful market entry for the technology. Two pilot projects will be implemented as part of H2SHIPS: A new hydrogen powered port vessel will be built in Amsterdam and in Belgium a H2 refuelling systemsuitable for open sea operation will be developed and tested. A further major output will be an action plan for the implementation of an H2SHIPS pilot on the river Seine in Paris in 2022. H2SHIPS will demonstrate the added-value of H2 for water transport and develop a blueprint for its adoption across North-West Europe, avoiding considerable GHG-emissions. The project is co-financed by the Interreg North-West Europe programme of the European Union. Several institutions from along the Rhine-Alpine corridor take part.

Read more about the project here (external link)


Antwerp: Shore power for barges


Photo (Port of Antwerp): Inland barges around a terminal

Antwerp Port Authority has installed nine onshore power connection points, so that barges can draw electricity while they are at berth.

Click here for details (external link)

Rhine-Alpine News

 Start of “enerPort” Project – duisport as a model for other inland ports

Photo: © duisport (Hans Blossey)

In a first step, the Port of Duisburg defines the energy issues which are supposed to be optimized. In the next step, the two project partners develop transferable solutions for other inland ports and a master concept for improved energy use / supplies.

Click here for more info (external link)


Newspaper “La Stampa”: Increase in freight traffic on the corridor causes conflicts with citizens in Domodossola

Train whistles disturb the sleep of the inhabitants of Domodossola and the mayor starts with the protests. “I ask for an evaluation to be made to see if the night whistle is absolutely necessary for the safety of train transit. The number of trains between Domodossola and Switzerland has risen to more than 130 per day and it is natural to ask for a reduction in, at least, acoustic pollution. Some residents are even considering the idea of ​​moving”, says mayor Lucio Pizzi in a letter sent to the Italian Agency for railway safety.

Click here for the online article (external link, Italian language)


Sailing low, loading high: Contargo prepares for the next extreme summer

Symbolic illustration: Contargo

Container hinterland logistics network Contargo has taken the precautionary measure of having four barges in its fleet modified so that they have 10-15 cm more water beneath the keel in very low water conditions. At two boatyards in Antwerp and Dordrecht, metal plates have been welded onto four vessels  in such a way that they now have to sit only 130 cm instead of 150 cm deep in order for their propellers to have enough water. Thanks to this investment of approximately 10,000 euro per vessel, the barges can now sail in the same water levels with 10-15 cm more water beneath the keel, and can thus transport 200-300 tons more cargo in low water.

Click here for the full article (external link)

Rhine-Alpine News

H-vision kicks off the hydrogen economy in Rotterdam

Symbolic graphics: Port of Rotterdam

The large-scale production and utilisation of blue hydrogen will allow local industry in Rotterdam to substantially reduce its CO2 emissions, well before 2030. This is one of the main conclusions of the feasibility study carried out by 16 companies and organisations, under the guidance of Deltalinqs, within the H-vision project.

Click here for details (external link)


New info about Rastatt tunnel works

Special newsletter by Deutsche Bahn on upper Rhine rail issues, see link below

Deutsche Bahn these days updated the public about the work on the Rastatt tunnel. Construction had been interrupted following the accident of 12 August 2017. Most important: It is not planned to interrupt the railway line during the construction, and completion is scheduled for 2025.

Through the link below, you get access to the press statement (in German language) and a presentation that is also in German language, but mainly self-explaining. You can also download a special newsletter on this topic and subscribe to the regular newsletter on issues regarding railway construction along the upper Rhine.

Click here for details (external link, German language)


Karlsruhe: Study to support revitalization of rail link across Rhine

Photo (Roehrensee, under creative commons license): Existing bridge at Wintersdorf

A historical rail link across the Rhine between Rastatt in Germany and Haguenau in France, connecting the region within the triangle of Karlsruhe, Strasbourg and Saarbrücken, may be revived. These days, money from regional and federal sources was assigned for a feasibility study. While most of the infrastructure is still in place, the existing bridge has not seen rail traffic since 1965. Because of structural weakness, currently only light cars are allowed on the former railway bridge.

Click here for details (external link, German language)