News Articles

The Netherlands emerges as EU leader in rail transport growth

Congested roads a factor

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

UTRECHT - Within the European Union, the Netherlands has achieved the greatest rail freight transportation growth between 1990 and 2003 (an increase of 54 per cent), reports Eurostat statistics. Data about the tonnage carried in 2004 shows continuation of this growth.

This is good news for the Betuwe Line, a railway track which connects Rotterdam with the German hinterland. The line will come into service in about a year. Growth in rail cargo transportation in the Netherlands has occurred primarily between Rotterdam and the German border.

In 1995 a government commission reconsidered the decision to construct the Betuwe route. After extensive research it issued a positive recommendation and estimated the east-west axis volume in 2015 at a minimum of 33 million tonnes. Forecasts by the Port of Rotterdam Authority now suggest that this target indeed is realistic. By 2020, this volume will have grown even further to 40 million tonnes. Reasons for the strong growth in rail transport on the route to Germany is a combination of factors. The significant increase in container transportation and the transport of coal to Germany only tell part of the story. Other contributing factors are congested highways, pushing the switch away from road to rail and river transportation.