Forwarders meet Rail: Closer collaboration in the rail sector

Source: Port of Rotterdam Authority

On 28 June, the World Port Center in Rotterdam hosted the ‘Forwarders meet Rail’ event. In addition to a number of presentations, the organiser had also set up a Marketplace for the approximately 80 attendees. “An effective way to obtain concise and relevant information about current developments in the market,” according to Rosalinde Van Lomwel of DAMCO.

The port of Rotterdam’s rail product is becoming stronger and stronger. For Rotterdam, this is actually a relatively undeveloped market. While the various operators acknowledge its potential, they also see major challenges ahead. “As operators, we shouldn’t steal a march on each other,” argued Henk van Dieren of SAMSKIP. “Of course, we are competitors, but if we aim to compete as a sector against road haulage, we need to join forces and work together to fill those trains.”

"We need to join forces and work together to fill those trains.”

Henk van Dieren, SAMSKIP

The port of Rotterdam is the starting point and terminus of over 250 weekly intermodal rail connections. Transporting cargo to and from the port of Rotterdam via rail is swift, efficient, reliable and sustainable. Rail offers short transit times: many destinations in Europe can be reached by train within a single day. And rail offers an excellent range of options when it comes to transporting large volumes of containers, dry bulk, breakbulk and chemical products.

The different container terminals in the port area often have their own rail transhipment facilities, which means that cargo that arrives at the terminal can be loaded onto a train without delay. In addition, parties in Rotterdam can make use of the Rail Service Center Rotterdam (RSC), which is fully geared towards the handling of rail shuttle transports and combined transports. Naturally, representatives of the RSC were also present at the event. “Initiatives of this kind contribute to the creation of greater integration in the rail market,” noted Richard van den Bempt of the RSC. “As a terminal, we can gather a lot of new market information at this event, and it allows us to speak with all the relevant parties in the logistics chain within the space of a single morning.”

‘Forwarders meet Rail’ was a follow-up to the ‘Ocean meets Rail’ session organised last January. That event was intended to paint as clear a picture as possible for shortsea and deepsea shipping lines of the range of services offered by the rail operators. Martijn Loois of Portshuttle Rotterdam, the youngest rail operator, attended both occasions. “We are a prime example of how bundling cargo can increase efficiency in rail transports. A number of rail operators book with us, which allows them to optimise their train runs.”

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