In Rotterdam, 19 rail freight parties have signed a partnership agreement aiming to accelerate the growth of digitisation and data sharing in the sector.

In the next two years, the foundation of the Rail Connected programme will be laid, under the leadership of the Port of Rotterdam Authority.

Financed by the ministry of infrastructure and water management as well as the port authority, the programme has arisen from the Rail Freight Transport Measures Package to promote rail freight transport.

“Due to our sustainability objectives, the Port of Rotterdam Authority together with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the logistic parties focus on strong rail transport growth in the next few years,” says Matthijs van Doorn, Commercial Director at the Port of Rotterdam Authority.

“In the past year, rail freight transport has grown by ten per cent. It is our aim to continue building a competitive rail offer. We can only succeed if we take additional steps in efficiency, transparency and reliability. This requires good infrastructure, good market circumstances, digitisation, and data sharing.”

A major part of Rail Connected is the further development of the current Notification Container Hinterland Barge service by Portbase, the provider of the Port Community System. As a result, the exchange of information between the chain parties is digitised further.

“This will allow the possibility of reporting trains to the terminal, for instance, and information will be available about the composition of the train,” explains Iwan van der Wolf, Managing Director of Portbase.

“Data will be accessible when information exchange is standardised and digitised. At a later stage and with the proper authorisations, we can make it available safely to the rail freight sector and other parties. In this way, we use smart innovations to develop improvements.”

“The transparency and insights that come about due to digitisation will contribute to improved predictability of rail freight transport as a product,” Van Doorn adds.

“Eventually, this will help optimise the use of the railway, the trains, and employees. It will boost the growth of rail freight traffic. The Rail Connected growth programme is a first, major step to make this possible.”

The 19 companies participating are deep-sea container terminals RWG and Hutchison Ports ECT Rotterdam, and rail freight companies Contargo, CTT Rotterdam, Danser, DB Cargo Nederland, DistriRail, European Gateway Services, Haeger & Schmidt Logistics, KombiRail Europe, LTE, Neska Intermodal, Optimodal, Portshuttle, Rail Force One, Raillogix, Rotterdam Rail Feeding, RTB Cargo, Trimodal Europe.


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