Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Closed Rhine Rail Freight Corridor Continues to Cause Logistics Chaos

Operators Seeking New Routings Urgently
Shipping News Feature
GERMANY – SWITZERLAND – ITALY – BELGIUM – NETHERLANDS – On the 12th of August, a land slip at the construction site of the new 3 mile Rastatt rail tunnel in Germany, caused major damage to the construction site and to the adjacent railway track. Since then roughly 12 miles of critical railway from Rastatt to Karlsruhe on one side and Rastatt to Basel on the other has been impassable to trains, a huge issue for rail freight which averages 200 freight train per day as it is the primary north-south link between the ports of Rotterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp to Italy and Switzerland. As a result European rail freight users are suffering losses running at of Euros per week.

Extensive works need to be undertaken to repair the damage, with Deutsche Bahn stating that approximately 10,500 cubic metres of concrete will be need to be pumped into the tunnel tube at the damaged site, while approximately 5,000 cubic metres has already been used.

Freight operators are shifting cargoes onto road and canal transportation, but the capacity is still badly affected and as the extent of the disruption still comes to light rail freight operators are seeking permission to divert onto alternative routes so as to keep freight moving between the North Sea ports and the Alps.

One example is the Swisstrain, a service offered by Frenkendorf-based Swissterminal AG, which has been granted right-of-way for an alternative routing. The replacement schedule to connect the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp via the German cities of Singen and Stuttgart and lasts until further notice. Due to this diversion, the length of the train is limited to 550 metres.

The next import and export connections arrive and depart Frenkendorf on Monday, 21 August 2017. Roman Mayer, President and Delegate of the Board at Swissterminal AG, commented:

“We are delighted to offer our clients alternative transport solutions for import and export cargo to Rotterdam and Antwerp by both train and barge. Together with our partners, we have developed a replacement schedule to minimise disruptions and extra charges as much as possible. We are able to offer two connections between Frenkendorf and Rotterdam and Antwerp per week until further notice.”