The Belgian rail operator Lineas and Tabaknatie logistics company are working on a rail-truck hub concept by establishing collection points for containers outside of Antwerp to spread the number of trucks during the Oosterweel works.
The initiative comes after Lantis and the Port of Antwerp called on transport companies to propose solutions that would reduce rush hour traffic. Both companies proposed a hub outside the city or port where carriers can drop off or pick up their cargo. The remainder of the route shifts to nighttime off-peak hours. As a result, some 20,000 containers could be taken off the road every year.
Under the project, Lineas proposes extensive use of rail transport services. Specifically, the company wants to realize a rail-truck hub along the E17 in the direction of the port. The containers will be collected outside Antwerp and transported to the port. Through a direct rail connection to the deep-sea terminals, this can be done during daytime and at night.
The Oosterweel project involves the completion of the R1 ring road around Antwerp, part of the TEN-T core network. The project will allow a direct connection between the areas of Linkeroever, the port of Antwerp, het Eilandje, Merksem and Noordersingel. The Oosterweel link extends over a length of approximately 15 km. The Oosterweel link has been conceived for heavy truck traffic and will shift important traffic streams of the southern axis, to a more northern, shorter trajectory through the port.
The project will relief the traffic congestion, will reduce the accidents and will improve the quality of life the Antwerp region.
“With the Oosterweel works, our mission of modal shift from road to rail has never been more relevant. With this rail-truck hub, we want to offer the market yet another solution that will immediately keep trucks out of rush hour and transport as much of their loads as possible by rail. This benefits both mobility and climate: trains emit 9 times less CO2 and 8 times less particulate matter,” Lars Redeligx, CCO of Lineas said.
Lineas is still researching the location of the rail-truck hub. Currently, the two main options are the Ghent port area and the surroundings of Kortrijk.
The shuttle is expected to be operational in 2022.