From the road to rail or sea – this is a trend that aims to make the transportation of goods more efficient. It will also reduce CO2 emissions.
Last week a direct rail connection between the Dutch city of Rotterdam and southern Spain was started. It is used to transport fruit. This week the Flemish Ministry of Mobility and the Flemish Port invested EUR8 million. This money is being used to remove freight from the road. This freight is being moved to inland shipping or rail routes.
Separate truck volumes are being bundled. This practice makes it far more interesting for transport companies to trade in their fleet of trucks for a barge or goods train.
‘We are going to collect all the goods that have the same destination. In this way, you can put everything on the same ship or train,” says the Flemish Minister of Mobility, Ben Weyts. ‘Each load that can go via the water or railway must no longer be on the roadway.”
Crippling traffic jams
The traffic jams in Flanders are crippling people, the economy, and the environment. At the moment, trucks are responsible for most of the container transport between the ports and the inland.
The truck volumes are often too fragmented to make alternative forms of transport lucrative. These are ways such as inland shipping or freight trains. By bundling the goods – including those of competitors – train or boat transport does indeed become efficient.
In the Netherlands, traffic jams are also a problem for many transport companies. Alternatives to road transport are also gaining attention in that country. Last week, the first train, filled with oranges, left the Spanish city of Valencia for Rotterdam.
Fresh fruit is transported to the Netherlands three times a week in this way. This means that, monthly, more than 1,000 road trips are no longer needed. Trains not only solve the problem of traffic jams. They are also the first significant step toward making the transportation of fruit and vegetables more sustainable.
One train can replace 42 trucks. According to the initiators, this will reduce CO2 emissions by 70-90%. The Dutch Association for Transport and Logistics, TLN’s member, Bakker Barendrecht, is one of these initiators. Yearly, 12,096 fewer trips will be needed. This reduction in the number of trips saves 22 million road kilometres. This, in turn, is good for 15,000 tons fewer CO2 emissions.
Another reason to switch to the train is the ever-increasing problem of a shortage of truck drivers. They will remain essential, even if boat or train transport increases. Road transport will always be needed to bring goods from the train or boat to the client.