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Direct container train from Switzerland at Antwerp Gateway

12 July 2018

On Wednesday, July 11th, the Antwerp Gateway terminal, operated by DP World Antwerp, welcomed the first roundtrip from the container train connection from Switzerland. With a travel time of just one night, this is a fast and efficient way to handle the growing call sizes at Antwerp Gateway.

Faster than inland shipping

The new direct rail connection travels one night on the Basel (Switzerland) - Antwerp route in both directions. That is a considerable gain of time compared to inland shipping, which takes about 7 to 9 days to Basel, depending on the operator and intermediate stops. The trip to Antwerp takes about 4 to 5 days. The new connection was set up by Schweizerzug, part of the Swiss logistics group Swissterminal, in collaboration with Port of Antwerp. The train runs twice a week during the night and can transport about 90 TEU. The route runs from Frenkendorf via France to Muttenz, Uckange, Bettembourg and Antwerp North.

Connections to the further European hinterland

From Antwerp Gateway there are connections with all other Antwerp port terminals. In Switzerland, Schweizerzug offers connections with Swissterminal units in Niederglatt (Zurich) and Melzo (Milan). Next to this remains the three-weekly connection with a stopover in Neuss (Germany) to the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp.

Handling large call sizes via rail

Because of its strategic location and infrastructure for the largest sea vessels, Antwerp Gateway will receive ever larger ships, leading to a larger number of outbound containers. To handle the increasing call sizes, terminal operator DP World Antwerp wants to focus on new train connections. The container handler aspires an increase from 5 to 10% in terms of its rail operations, from 55.000 TEU today to 120.000 TEU in 2020. Currently a number of new expansions to Western and Eastern Europe (including France and Germany) are in the pipeline.

Roman Mayer, president and delegate of the board of the Swissterminal group comments on the new link: „The new direct service to Antwerp provides shippers in Switzerland and neighbouring regions with a reliable new rail service that offers substantial time savings in comparison with other means of transport. Swissterminal’s objective is to offer Swiss shippers the best transport product for transport via European sea ports. We are delighted to cooperate with DP World and the Port of Antwerp in offering this service. We have been constantly developing the Schweizerzug service since we launched it in October 2016, and the new product paves the way for new cooperations. “

Rob Harrison, CEO DP World Antwerp: Schweizerzug's new link to Antwerp is an exciting opportunity for us to build links into the Swiss market. As volumes are further increasing and our Antwerp Gateway terminal features excellent rail infrastructure, we have been working on establishing relationships and partnerships with rail operators. The new Swiss rail shuttle will allow us to offer a fast transit time and a quick turnaround of this rail product.