Concept of added value rail services for the chemical industry
The second objective of this project is to develop new value added services for the chemical industry in order to stimulate the shift to rail. A first list of promising new services has been developed. These could all be implemented on and around the MainHub area in the port of Antwerp which consist of 600 000 m² for freight development.
The chemical industry in the Port of Antwerp faces important restrictions regarding treatment and storage of chemical products on site and it is subject to strict security and safety standards for the transport of dangerous goods. The current rail freight offer is not always adapted to this specific context and there is an increasing need for local parking, temporary storage, maintenance or repair and cleaning services for chemical wagons. Offering these services adapted to the customers needs would help reduce transport cost and inactivity time to the chemical industry.
Renting chemical wagons is expensive. Optimising the fleet size and composition of these wagons will reduce the cost of rail freight. A ‘wagon supermarket’ concept, whereby a buffer of different type of wagons is mutualised within the cluster to make sure the customers get the right type of wagon in short notice is an example of potential efficiency improvements. Also ‘wagon picking services’ whereby customers only rent a specific wagon based on a specific order to prevent parking costs and avoid unnecessary shunting operations are an example.
The existing intermodal terminal at MainHub could be transformed into a real multi-modal freight village. At this moment there are intermodal trains and some container trucks on the site. But by extending the logistical functions, it could become a real logistical center in the Port. These logistical services could consist of cross docking of pallets in a rail connected warehouse (can be used for LWL transport), depot services for empty containers, drop-off point for containers for left bank - right bank connections, using Lineas Intermodal’s LORO shuttle.
In the port of Antwerp the chemical industry can use Lineas’ Single Wagon Load (SWL) rail solutions.
Lineas has and is developing its Green Express Network (GXN) with frequent & direct trains from Antwerp to several destinations around Europe. The remaining destinations are covered by the service offer within X-rail. The uniqueness of the Green Xpress Network lies in the fact that different types of freight (conventional & intermodal loads) are bundled on one single train. Furthermore, GXN products offer increased reliability, speed and smarter information. In order to create such a product volume is needed.
A potential solution to get enough scale is Combining conventional SWL volumes with maritime and continental intermodal volumes, allow to get enough volume. As one of the largest container seaports in the world with more than 9m TEU transported, Antwerp has important inbound and outbound maritime container flows. These containers typically have a hinterland destination within 300 to 500km. By setting up combined cargo trains with maritime containers and conventional SWL wagons, Lineas could setup new medium distance viable GXN destination and combine the speed and reliability of intermodal volumes with the profitability of SWL.