During a meeting between Volker Wissing, the Transport Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Emile Hoogsteden, Vice President of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, it was stated that the Rhine corridor must be improved.
As the freight corridor from Rotterdam to Genoa is one of the most crucial European logistics axes, not only logistics services need to be developed, but also the modernisation of railway infrastructure along the corridor. According to Hoogsteden, this not only concerns the construction of an alternative route to the Middle Rhine Valley but also extension of the Betuwe line between Oberhausen and Emmerich in North Rhine-Westphalia.
In 2022, line’s third track between Zevenaar and Oberhausen (Germany) will be completed, allowing more trains to run on the line. The project, launched in 2016, consists of laying a 70-km third track and a fourth track of 3 km, constructing 74 km of noise barriers and upgrading 11 stations. In addition, modifying 47 overpasses and bridges and replacing 55 level crossings with 38 flyover crossings will be realized.
The 160-km Betuwe Line is of crucial importance for the port of Rotterdam’s position, strengthening its connection with the European hinterland and in the same time it had reduced road traffic jams.
Both representatives agreed that to ensure supply for the population and companies along the Rhine, an efficient waterway and greater speed in carrying out transport projects along the Rhine corridor is needed.
“With the expansion of Europe’s largest seaport and the doubling of container throughput, the capacity of hinterland transport must also be increased,” said Transport Minister Wissing and Port Vice President Hoogsteden.
“The low water levels of 2018 have revealed the urgent need to expand the role of the Rhine as the central European transport and logistics axis. It is therefore important that the German federal government quickly implement the project to optimise unloading along the Middle Rhine (Abladeoptimierung am Mittelrhein),” Wissing said.
German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer included this unloading optimisation project in the Master Plan for Inland Navigation proposed in May 2019.