Coevorden fulfils a crucial role in rail freight transport between Rotterdam and the European hinterland. The Drenthe fortified town has direct connections to both the German and the Dutch rail network, making the rail shuttle between the Port of Rotterdam and the Euroterminal in Coevorden extremely popular. The train frequency increased to three times per week in both directions on 9 December.
The Euroterminal Emmen-Coevorden-Hardenberg, owned by Bentheimer Eisenbahn AG, is becoming more popular and is developing as a logistics hub. ‘The environment is an important theme for distributers and big clients. That’s something we notice in Coevorden too. Rail is becoming an increasingly interesting transport alternative particularly with a view to reducing CO2 emissions’, stated Joachim Berends, Director of Euroterminal/Bentheimer Eisenbahn AG. ‘The rail shuttle is a reliable connection between Europe’s largest port in Rotterdam and our hinterland terminal. The train transports electronics, products for the automotive industry, flour products and raw materials. From Coevorden, containers are transported to their final destination using different trains or via trucks. Our aim is for the rail shuttle to operate daily in the future.’
The rail shuttle transports 95 TEU per trip and departs from Coevorden on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings. The train travels via Kijfhoek shunting-yard and visits four terminals in Rotterdam the next day: ECT Delta, APMT2, EUROMAX and RSC. The train leaves Rotterdam again for the Euroterminal on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Coevorden has train connections with 21 European economic centres three times a week, including with Scandinavia.
Future of rail
Graaco - a logistics service provider with transport activities and 70,000 m2 of warehouses, a GrainTerminal and packaging plants - has been a client since the rail shuttle’s very first hour. ‘We have chosen consciously to establish ourselves along the railway next to the Euroterminal. This enables us to transport containers from and to Rotterdam at a very attractive price’, explained Ben Blog, General Director of Graaco. ‘We are extremely pleased with this third rail shuttle service. It enables more clients to use the train. I expect rail modality to become even more important in the future. The government will be reducing the costs of using the rail network, which will make it even more financially attractive. Transport by rail is also a solution for reducing CO2 emissions. The environmental aspect was already an argument as early as the 1990s, and this is set to become more important for companies in the coming years.’
TSR/Holland Maxeda - importer/exporter of non-food items - makes frequent use of the rail shuttle. ‘Containers arrive for us in Rotterdam from China every day. We transport some thirty to forty containers to the Euroterminal on each train and welcome the extra train per week’ stated CEO Henry van Rees. ‘The location of the Euroterminal is favourable for us because of the warehouses around Coevorden, but it’s the environmentally friendly aspect of the train that’s most important for us.’
Using nature to create
Another permanent rail shuttle client is located on the other side of the border in Emlichheim, ten kilometres from the Euroterminal. Emsland Group is the biggest potato producer in Germany, number two in the world, and exports six hundred thousand tonnes of potato and pea products globally every year. A large proportion of these pass through the Port of Rotterdam. Herbert Zwartscholten, Emsland Group Logistics Manager: ‘Our slogan is using nature to create, and sustainability is a high priority for us. We have always preferred intermodal transport, and we’ve transported our products on almost every train that has departed from Coevorden to Rotterdam since 2007. This year, that was some 2,500 containers. A third journey per week will offer us more flexibility. The rail shuttle is also a financially attractive option for us, because we can cover almost the entire distance by rail.’
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