Rhine-Alpine News

Duisport to cooperate further with HUPAC on connections with Rotterdam and along “Belt & Road” to China

Duisburger Hafen, Logistikstandort Logport 3 am Rhein bei Hohenbudberg, Duisburg Huckingen,Eisenbahnanschluß und Containerverladung, Containerterminal, Duisburg, Ruhrgebiet, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Deutschland

Photo (© duisport / Hans Blossey): One of the terminals at Duisport.

At the transport logistic trade fair in Munich, duisport, the most important logistics hub in Central Europe, and Hupac, one of the largest operators of international intermodal transport networks, agreed to better connect the Maasvlakte terminal in Rotterdam by means of a shuttle system running several times a day. This will strengthen the Port of Duisburg as a gateway for the onward transport of maritime freight from Rotterdam within Europe.

In addition, duisport and Hupac will increasingly cooperate to optimize their activities within the framework of the “Belt & Road” initiative. Both partners will jointly develop terminals along the Silk Road and work on solutions to reduce the journey times of Chinese trains.



Ceneri base tunnel to open in late 2020


Photo (Martin Brandt): South portal of old, short Ceneri tunnel, soon to be replaced by a much longer base tunnel.

After the opening of the Gotthard base tunnel, there still remains the Ceneri base tunnel to be opened for allowing trains to transit the Alps without any steep grades. This tunnel will get operative from late 2020, increasing freight capacities and making the Gotthard axis more competitive enabling grosso modo half an hour savings on the Rhine-Alpine Corridor towards Milano. Read the joint statement of DB, SBB and FS Italiano:



Rhine-Alpine News

Port of Rotterdam: ‘Facts and Figures’ leaflet available


Photo (Port of Rotterdam Authority / Aeroview): Maasvlakte

The Facts and Figures leaflet tells about last year’s throughput. Freight segments, total throughput, port infrastructure and the Top 20 European ports. The leaflet also tells you about results on important themes regarding the Port of Rotterdam. The concise brochure is available in English, German and Dutch language.





Construction at Lake Zug: New rail schedules along Gotthard axis


Photo (© SBB CFF FFS): Construction workers at Swiss Railways

From 9 June 2019 to 12 December 2020 the single-track route between the towns of Zug and Arth-Goldau will be closed for the construction of a new double track section, long distance traffic will be redirected. Traffic on the mainline between Gotthard and Basel is not affected by the closure.

The route between Zug and Arth-Goldau is one of the northern links of the Gotthard route and has long been a bottleneck for trains between Italy and Ticino on the south side and the Zurich region as well as parts of southern Germany in the north. The new double track section will allow for more and faster passenger trains on the Gotthard axis, both in long distance and regional service. SBB estimates that without total closure of 18 months the construction work would take six years.

The press release is available in German and Italian language:




Rhine-Alpine News

Netherlands’ Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen receives Mannheim Convention at the Maritime Museum


Photo (Port of Rotterdam, Marco de Swart), from left to right: Bert Boer (General Director Maritime Museum), Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management), Allard Castelein (CEO Port of Rotterdam Authority).

A unique document arrived by police boat at the Maritime Museum Rotterdam: the Mannheim Convention. Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management) accepted the convention, which has ensured free trade on the Rhine for over a century and a half. To mark the 150th anniversary of the convention, the document has been making a historic journey over the Rhine. It has already been exhibited in Mannheim, Bonn and Duisburg, and will now be on display in the Maritime Museum for several months:



Mobility systems research bundled in Karlsruhe

“Profilregion: High Performance Center for Mobility Research” is the association of Karlsruhe’s institutions for research and teaching in the field of mobility systems. To keep its leading role, the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg bundles its competences here. Opening was on May 10. Find out more: https://www.profilregion-ka.de/index.php/en/


“Diamond” solves traffic problem in South Holland


Illustration: Province of South Holland

The Province of South Holland has opened a new exit of motorway A44 on May 27. A completely new design, the “diamond”, replaces the traditional cloverleaf. Depending on the routes of main traffic flows, a “diamond” can be superior to traditional concepts. This is demonstrated in a simulation (in Dutch language): https://www.zuid-holland.nl/actueel/nieuws/wegwerkzaamheden/


Rhine-Alpine News

Future Gotthard train “Giruno” starts passenger operation


Photo: © SBB

The new Gotthard train of Swiss Railways SBB “Giruno” started commercial passenger operation these days, taking over first services between Basel and Zurich. From the end of 2019, these new trains will run through the Gotthard tunnel, to become the backbone of long distance passenger service along that axis. Read the news in German, French and Italian:





Port of Antwerp stimulates rail and barge transport

The seventh Mobility Event organised by Port of Antwerp was held in April. This year the event was dedicated to the modal shift. Port of Antwerp presented a series of new initiatives to make rail and barge transport more attractive.



The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure presents the Inland Waterway Transport Masterplan


Photo (Martin Brandt): Inland waterway transport on the Rhine

The Inland Waterway Transport Masterplan, presented these days, focuses on five key priorities:

  • • Infrastructure: investing billions of euros to ensure that there is sufficient financial, structural and manpower capacity in the waterway sector.
  • • Environmental friendliness and fleet structure: supporting the industry in switching to more efficient and lower-emission vessels.
  • • Digitalization: creating Inland Waterway Transport 4.0 – connecting the ports, digitalizing the locks and vessels, automating the terminals.
  • • Boosting the multimodal transport chain: the objective is that inland waterway transport should account for 12 percent of the freight moved in the German modal split.
  • • More skilled workers: support the trade associations in attracting new workers and in their nationwide drive at recruiting fairs.

While Germany has an extensive network of navigable rivers and canals, the Rhine axis can be considered the backbone of German and European inland waterway transport.


Rhine-Alpine News

„Electric Highway“ on A5 Autobahn

Photo: © Hessen mobil

Photo: © Hessen mobil

A key segment of 5 km on the German Autobahn (A5) within the Rhine-Alpine Corridor, south of Frankfurt, was equipped with overhead wire for test runs of electric heavy trucks by five logistics operators and went operative on 7 May 2019. The test trucks handle real cargo and get their power by pantographs. They are able to run on and off the overhead wire, as traffic conditions demand.

Read more (in German language):



Continuing container growth pushes throughput at port of Rotterdam to a new high

Photo: © Port of Rotterdam Authority, Kees Torn

Photo: © Port of Rotterdam Authority, Kees Torn

At 469.0 million tonnes, the port of Rotterdam’s total throughput volume ended up slightly higher in 2018 than in 2017, which was itself a record year (467.4 million tonnes). Container transhipment was the engine of growth again, with a 4.5% increase in tonnage. Measured in TEUs, the standard unit for containers, the increase was 5.7% and the annual total was 14.5 million TEUs – also a record. This strengthens the position of Europe’s largest container port in this strategically important market segment. Significant underlying shifts were observable in the goods segments. Whereas container transhipment continued to grow at a healthy pace, that of crude oil, mineral oil products and agribulk fell. Throughput of LNG (+163.6%) and biomass (+31.6%) saw a further spectacular rises last year.



Inland shipping joins forces in Amsterdam-Utrecht-Rotterdam corridor

Photo: © Port of Rotterdam Authority, Eric Bakker

Photo: © Port of Rotterdam Authority, Eric Bakker

TMA Logistics, CTU and VCL join forces to establish the North West Central Corridor. This cargo consolidation will result in a more reliable barge product, more sustainable transport and fewer handling delays at the terminals. The initiative is supported by the deep sea container terminals in Rotterdam, Port of Amsterdam, the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the sustainable logistics programme Lean & Green Europe.

Inland shipping is essential for the transportation of containers on the Amsterdam-Utrecht-Rotterdam route. 250,000 containers are transported annually via this route. Since February 18th, cargo is specifically bundled. In practice the partnership means that vessels will consolidate at least 150 to 200 containers at the various terminals for one deep sea container terminal in Rotterdam (RWG, APMT, ECT Delta, ECT Euromax). To start, seven inland vessels will make seventeen departures per week, transporting some 5,000 containers.



Rhine-Alpine News

Welcome to digital Switzerland


Photo (Martin Brandt): Swiss transit got hard one day at Wassen / Switzerland

Increased customer friendliness, lower administrative costs, both to passenger and freight transalpine traffic: Thanks to the new Via app from the Federal Customs Administration (FCA), foreign camper vans and coaches can enter Switzerland more quickly and flexibly.

The heavy vehicle charges are processed in a few digital steps – whatever the time or place. The FCA is pursuing the same goal in goods traffic with the pilot project Activ. Via and Activ are interim results of the DaziT transformation programme.

Read the full story:



German Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer: “Railway will be good and quiet neighbour”


Map: Eisenbahn-Bundesamt

The German federal ministry of transport starts monitoring noise alongside tracks. 19 permanent measuring stations monitor the noise in positions that are passed by most of the German long distance trains, among them more than two thirds of all freight trains. Four of the 19 positions are located along the Rhine-Alpine corridor, and some are now operational. See the updated interactive map and read the news (in German): www.laerm-monitoring.de

Rhine-Alpine News

Additional fast passenger trains between Cologne and Brussels

Ein ICE 3 Baureihe 406 ("Hannover") steht am frühen Morgen im Bahnhof Brüssel Midi als ICE 11 von Brüssel Midi nach Frankfurt (Main) Hbf zur Abfahrt bereit.

Photo: Deutsche Bahn AG

Deutsche Bahn, one of the two operators of high-speed passenger trains between Cologne and Brussels, has recently improved its through ICE train service Frankfurt – Cologne – Liège – Brussels and back. An additional pair of trains around lunchtime now results in seven pairs per day, running roughly every other hour.


North Sea Agreement important for ports

Rotterdam photo Siebe Swart

Photo: Siebe Swart

The Port of Rotterdam Authority considers it vital that the North Sea Consultation works towards a North Sea Agreement in the coming six months. This consultation is investigating where on the North Sea the challenges regarding food, energy and nature can be combined and where choices will need to be made. The Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW) is initiator of this consultation. The consultation concluded on 23 April, an in-depth meeting will be held with the representatives on 8 May.

Read the full news: https://www.portofrotterdam.com/en/news-and-press-releases/north-sea-agreement-important-for-ports


Piedmont supporting clean trucks

The Regional Council of Piedmont has defined the criteria for the allocation of two and a half million euros for the purchase of vehicles used by the micro, small and medium-sized Piedmontese companies, replacing the most polluting cars. The new criteria complement the categories announced last December with a budget of 4 million euros, which allowed for the replacement or conversion of engines, then regarding commercial vehicles with a mass lower than 3.5 tons and between 3.5 and 12 tons only. The criteria adopted by the Regional Government provide that, in order to obtain the regional incentive, a company vehicle must be scrapped. The region of Piedmont is located in northwest Italy around its capital, the city of Turin. Read the complete news (in Italian language): https://www.regione.piemonte.it/web/pinforma/notizie/altri-due-milioni-mezzo-per-rottamazione-dei-veicoli-aziendali-piu-inquinanti

Rhine-Alpine News

Commissioner Bulc presents her policy achievements over the last five years

Commissioner Violeta Bulc at the podium (European Union 2015, Lieven Creemers)

Commissioner Violeta Bulc at the podium (European Union 2015, Lieven Creemers)

“With the European Parliament legislature coming to an end, and before some of you go back to their constituency to campaign for the European elections and others follow another path, it is a real pleasure for me to be with you once more”, says the Commissioner in her letter to members of the European parliament. Among other things, she explicitly elaborates upon rail transport, river transport and investment in TEN-T corridors.

Read the full presentation: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/162920/Speech%20-%20Commissioner%20Bulc%2020190411.pdf


Port of Rotterdam Authority starts partnership with North Brabant region for more inland shipping freight transport

Inland navigation (Port of Rotterdam, Willem van Kasteren)

Inland navigation (Port of Rotterdam, Willem van Kasteren)

The Port of Rotterdam Authority, Multimodal Coordination Foundation and Brabant Advice Centre (MCA Brabant) signed a partnership agreement to realise increased container transport via inland shipping between Rotterdam and North Brabant. The region of North Brabant covers most of the part of the Netherlands located south of the Rhine and is an important source of hinterland traffic for Rotterdam, which so far is mostly carried by road.

Read the full press statement: https://www.portofrotterdam.com/en/news-and-press-releases/port-of-rotterdam-authority-starts-partnership-with-north-brabant-region-for

9th Assembly Meeting in Genoa

On 11 April 2019, the EGTC held its 9th Assembly meeting in Genoa, Italy. The Assembly was the last one chaired by the first Chair of the EGTC, Ms. Conny Bieze. Since its founding almost exactly 4 years ago, the EGTC was chaired by Ms. Bieze. The members expressed their gratitude to her and wished her all the best for her future plans.


Conny Bieze

The EGTC has grown from 10 founding members to 24 in 2019. At this Asssembly meeting, Ms. Elisabetta Franzoni from the City of Novara presented the 25th member application. The Assembly accepted the application unanimously and heartily welcomed the new member.

Another main topic of the Assembly meeting was the Action plan of the EGTC for the next 3 years, that focuses on 5 main topics and on communication. With this focus, the EGTC also adjusted its working structure by setting working groups for each topic. The Working groups developed dossiers on the focus topics and corresponding activities:

  • • Cross-border issues
  • • Resilience of the Corridor
  • • Green Corridor
  • • Smart Mobility / Digitalisation
  • • Noise Reduction
  • • Communication

On 12 April, the assembly members had a guided tour through the Port of Genoa as well as through the laboratories Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia and Liguria Digitale. At the Erzelli Tecnopole, the participants have seen a presentation of the districts, techno-poles and research centers from the Piemonte, Liguria and Lombardia Regions.

Palazzo San Giorgio



Rhine-Alpine News

Germany and the Netherlands join forces in rail freight policies

Ferleman Van Veldhoven

State secretaries Van Veldhoven (Netherlands) and Ferlemann (Germany)

State secretaries Ferlemann (Germany) and Van Veldhoven (Netherlands) on a meeting in Berlin have agreed to join forces and further intensify cooperation on boosting rail freight. In the Letter of Intent, the following actions are identified:

  1. Development of rail freight based on technological innovations e.g. with a cross-border test bed for automated train operations, the use of the digital automated coupling system, standardized automated freight train operations in terminals or on industrial networks and automated brake testing.
  2. Joint expert group on funding of rolling stock investment.
  3. Accelerate the introduction of 740 m trains on cross-border routes.
  4. Contingency management in case of serious disturbances in the logistics chain including the occurrence of extreme water levels on the Rhine.

Read the complete press statement: https://www.bmvi.de/SharedDocs/EN/Articles/E/joined-forces-rail-freight-policies.html


Port of Rotterdam Annual report 2018: Space for today and tomorrow

Make it happen

Port of Rotterdam Annual report 2018: Space for today and tomorrow

‘Our world is changing rapidly and profoundly. Global developments such as the energy and raw materials transition, digitisation and changing goods flows have far-reaching consequences for all our activities. Flexibility and adaptability are therefore required in the further development and renewal of the Rotterdam port and industrial area. To maintain prosperity in our region, the Netherlands and Northwest Europe, we must create sufficient space for developments today and tomorrow. Our strategy therefore primarily focuses on innovative capacity, broadening the portfolio and enhancing the business climate.’

This is the comment of Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, on the 2018 annual report, now published online. Read the annual report highlights.



3. Regionalkonferenz Mobilitätswende 2019 (“Regional conference for mobility turnaround 2019“)


3. Regionalkonferenz Mobilitätswende 2019 (“Regional conference for mobility turnaround 2019“)

On Tuesday May 14, a regional conference for mobility turnaround is held in Ludwigshafen, Germany, by TechnologieRegion Karlsruhe and Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar. A whole session is dedicated to goods transport topics, featuring city distribution, mobility eco system and night logistics. The language of the conference is German. Participation is free of charge.

For details: https://www.m-r-n.com/neuigkeiten-und-veranstaltungen/veranstaltung-details/123066/