An accessible port

What the Betuwe route has brought us so far

Freight railway line celebrates 10th anniversary

  • Only dedicated freight railway line in Europe
  • Major connection between the port of Rotterdam and the hinterland
  • Less congestion and increased throughput in Rotterdam

Over the past ten years, the Betuwe Route – a railway line constructed especially for freight transport – has brought us quite a few benefits. Fewer traffic jams, for example. Because fewer trucks filled with cargo means less traffic on our roads. And the Betuwe Route also contributes to public safety: some of the containers loaded onto the trains contain chemical products, and the route chosen for the line ensures that it doesn’t go through any residential neighbourhoods or roads. Of course, it’s reassuring to know that chemical products don’t pass directly by people’s homes. The fact that residents aren’t bothered by the sound of passing freight trains is an added bonus.


The Betuwe Route is of crucial importance for the port of Rotterdam’s position – strengthening its connection with the European hinterland, among other things. The freight railway line helps the port to grow further; over the past few years, the Betuwe Route has helped increase throughput in Rotterdam, and consequently contributed to the growth of the Dutch economy. Ronald Paul, Chief Operating Officer of the Port of Rotterdam Authority: “A port is as good as its connection with its hinterland. That is why we believe the Betuwe Route has proven a very wise investment. By offering cargo transport via the Betuwe Route, the port of Rotterdam aims to be an attractive alternative to the ports of Antwerp and Hamburg.” On top of which – an important point to consider – research published by the Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis (KIM) shows that transport via this rail connection produces lower CO2 emissions than road haulage, which is good news for the environment.

  • 160 KM is the total length of this dedicated freight railway line.
  • 10.4 % of all containers that arrived in Rotterdam left the port by rail in 2016: equivalent to 760,000 containers.
  • 100 TRAINS use the route every 24 hours. This number will be even higher when work on the ‘German leg’ of the connection has been rounded off.

Leaving aside the route’s undisputed benefits, one thing should be noted. When the plans for the Betuwe Route were hatched, the line was intended to turn a profit for the Dutch state. So far, this hasn’t been the case. The Netherlands Court of Audit has calculated that for the moment, the railway line’s earnings do not outweigh its construction and maintenance costs… yet.

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