At the end of 2019, the Betuwe Express of European Gateway Services (EGS) already marked its 10th year of reliably and quickly connecting the deepsea terminals at the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam with the inland terminal Hutchison Ports Duisburg in Germany. Across 5000 trips, more than 400,000 containers (TEU) have now been transported by train. Good for a reduction in CO2 of more than 37,500 tonnes compared to transport by road.
“The Betuwe Express is the best choice for the fast and sustainable transport of cargo from Rotterdam to North Rhine-Westphalia,” says Leo Steegs (Sales Executive EGS). A container that departs the port in the evening is available in Duisburg early the next morning for the last mile to the warehouse. Particularly for shippers and forwarders involved in fast-moving consumer goods, electronics or other high-value goods, this offers important added value. Of course, cargo is also transported from Duisburg to the Maasvlakte at the same speed.”
The Betuwe Express is part of the comprehensive, reliable range of transport options EGS offers between Rotterdam and Duisburg. Three regularly scheduled trains a week operate in both directions and there are five barge departures that for the most part use fixed windows in the port of Rotterdam. EGS thus serves all the deepsea terminals at the Maasvlakte. In Duisburg, the starting point and terminus is Hutchison Ports Duisburg, commonly known under its previous name DeCeTe. The Betuwe Express has a capacity of 100 TEU per trip. Traction is supplied by RTB Cargo, which deploys energy-efficient electric locomotives. This makes the train the most environmentally friendly mode of transport.
‘Customers who combine rail and inland shipping through EGS assure themselves of continuity’
Via EGS, it is easy to in a synchromodal manner combine the use of rail with transport by barge. If speed is a factor, then the container is put on the train. If time is less of the essence, the river becomes an option. Steegs: “Customers who combine rail and inland shipping via EGS assure themselves of continuity. We know from experience that there is always a high demand for additional rail capacity in periods of low water levels. The degree to which this can be met is limited at those times. Already structurally using the train throughout the year consequently provides certainty.”
‘In terms of transit time, the Betuwe Express is unbeatable’
An additional option when transporting via the Betuwe Express is the use of a paperless service whereby containers travel by train from the Maasvlakte to Hutchison Ports Duisburg under the customs license of Hutchison Ports ECT Rotterdam (of which EGS is a part). The inland terminal functions as a cross-border extended gate. This means no customs formalities need to be performed at ECT's deepsea terminals in Rotterdam. This saves time and costs. It is not until the cargo departs the inland terminal in Germany that the customer needs to arrange the customs formalities.
Onward transport is very easy from Hutchison Ports Duisburg. The inland terminal is situated in the heart of North Rhine-Westphalia, a market with eighteen million consumers. Furthermore, the directly adjacent rail terminal of Duss offers onward connections to approximately 70 destinations throughout Germany and further afield in Europe. Steegs: “and we are continuously improving the Betuwe Express. For example by operating trains of 740 metres in length as soon as this is permitted.”