The port of Ghent (North Sea Port) and shipping company DFDS have joined forces. Together, they have inaugurated a new freight train connection to transport 8 000 containers annually to and from Lyon. Now, there is a new multimodal connection between Sweden, Belgium, and France.
Freight train operator Lineas will initially run the train three times a week. Next month, the frequency will be increased to five times a week. This frequency will be necessary because DFDS sails six times a week between Ghent (Belgium) and Gothenburg (Sweden). Transporting freight by train implies a significant reduction in emissions.
Cheaper and more sustainable
Freight to or from France is too often transported by truck. Now goods can travel by rail in a cheaper and more sustainable way. The new train connection involves 450 additional trains a year, transporting containers and trailers. The containers will mainly contain food and chemical products; the trailers contain general and industrial cargo and cargo for the automotive industry.
“Trains transport will become increasingly important,” explains Bernard Gustin, CEO of Lineas. “In 2022, the transport volume from our port via rail grew by more than 5%, but our ambition is to grow to 15%.”
‘Reduce energy consumption and emissions’
“France is an important destination,” continues Gustin. “Freight can be transported to Italy, Scandinavia, and Central and Eastern Europe.” In time, other destinations for freight transport will be added.
“The modal shift is necessary to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Rail transport (compared to road transport) represents six times less energy consumption and nine times less CO2.”
Apart from environmental benefits, the train has other assets. Port director Daan Schalck: “Train transport is low-congestion. Also, inland shipping is an important element in the multimodal ambitions of the port.”