Port of Zeebrugge to increase rail connectivity

2021/08/04 at 11:56 AM

To meet the customer requirements and guarantee the further increase of freight volumes, the Port of Zeebrugge emphasises the development of railway connections and rail infrastructure. This will also allow the Belgian harbour to relieve traffic congestion and reduce CO2 emissions.

Port of Zeebrugge is going to increase the share of the goods transported to and from the port by rail. The ambitious goal is to reach a 20 per cent share of the railway connections by 2030. This will help to reduce traffic congestion and its impact on the environment.

“Because we aren’t directly on a river, we face limitations for inland navigation. That’s why rail is the intermodal solution for Zeebrugge, to anticipate the needs of our various clients. Our ambition is to turn Zeebrugge into a true rail hub,” Johan Abel, Chief Sales & Logistics Officer said.

Container trains in the Port of Zeebrugge, source: Port of Zeebrugge Authority

Currently, rail accounts for over 13 per cent of cargo transport in the port’s overall modal split. All its short-sea and deep-sea terminals have their own rail infrastructure and offer intermodal services. But the port authority looks for innovative solutions to make cargo transport by rail more attractive and competitive.

Cars on trains

Port of Zeebrugge is known as the pre-eminent hub for new cars. According to Johan Abel, one of the new decisions must bundle the deep-sea and short-sea facilities by the cost-effective train connections. Currently, the port faces a challenge due to the inability to move trailers onto a rail carriage with a crane. The port authority is looking for another solution to accommodate trailers by rail as well.


There are a lot of stakeholders interested in the railway connection development in Zeebrugge. For instance, Infrabel, the Belgian rail infrastructure manager, invested millions of euros in the modernisation of tracks around the port. Meanwhile, Hupac, the Swiss intermodal operator, recently connected the Port of Zeebrugge with Brescia and Barcelona, and will also add Warsaw to its direct connections from September. Since 2017, Zeebrugge has been also connected to the Green Xpress Network of Lineas, the largest private rail freight operator in Europe.

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