‘Belgium needs to intensify rail transport and inland shipping’

Belgium has to focus more on transport via rail and waterways. That is one of the conclusions of the latest Mobility Report 2022 from the Mobility Council (Mobiliteitsraad, MORA).

“The transport sector surely has put efforts into promoting inland shipping and rail transport but not enough to realize the modal shift,” says Tim Buyse, MORA’s secretary. Buysse notices the sector’s ambition, but real results fail to appear.

In 2021, ships carried 1 022 607 twenty-foot containers through Flanders. This is an increase of almost 4% compared to 2020. Most of these containers (705 192) were transported on the Albert Canal, Flanders’ most important waterway.

The modal shift is a way to reduce the impact of goods transport on the environment.


According to Buysse, the sector needs to (further) invest in infrastructure and look for connections between all types of transport modes. When it comes to digitizing and the exchange of data, there is still room for improvement.

The Flanders Resilience Relaunch Plan (Vlaamse Veerkracht) (4,3 billion euros) provided additional investments for infrastructure, of which 172 million were intended for the modal shift. However, the Mobility Council cannot see any clearness about objectives or concrete measures.

So, despite the increased resources and the growth in inland shipping and transport via waterways, there is no distinct shift in the transport of goods.


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