Port of Rotterdam to redirect 4km route to ease congestion

The Port of Rotterdam Authority has announced that it will redirect approximately 4km of the port section of the Betuwe Route, separating shipping and rail traffic to prevent obstruction and delays.

Rotterdam reroute

From 2020 the railway line will no longer run over the Caland Bridge near Rozenburg. The bridge, which reaches the end of its technical lifespan that year, is an important traffic hub, used by rail and road traffic. By redirecting the railway line over the Rozenburgse Sluis and via Theemsweg, the increasing rail traffic to and from Europoort and the Maasvlakte will no longer be obstructed by shipping. This will considerably improve the flow of traffic.

Construction of the new route will cost around €275 million. The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment is contributing over €100 million, the European Union €62 million and the Port Authority the remainder. The Port Authority will construct the new route and then hand the railway line over to ProRail.

Ronald Paul, COO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, said: “The connections to the hinterland are essential for the port’s competitive position. That’s why we want to see a solution to the capacity problem. But because the Government doesn’t have sufficient funds to do this in the coming years, we suggested to the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment that we, as Port Authority, would pay a large proportion of the costs for the Theemsweg Route and execute the project ourselves. On completion, we will hand the new stretch of track over to ProRail. The ministry responded positively to our proposal. We will produce the final design for the railway line in collaboration with ProRail. The new route will be approximately 4km long and run over a raised railway viaduct. The track will have two arched bridges and link up again with the existing track where it meets the A15.”

It is very unusual in Europe for a port authority to invest as heavily in public infrastructure as is currently the case in Rotterdam. In Hamburg, Wilhelmshaven, Bremerhaven, Antwerp and Zeebrugge, the authorities not only pay for the public infrastructure such as railways, but also contribute towards investments in the development of ports, or the government settles the losses suffered by the port authorities.