The Port of Zeebrugge has announced it has partnered with rail specialists Infrabel to upgrade its rail infrastrucutre and improve access for shippers and supply chain stakeholders.
In a statement, the Port said the company would invest “millions of euros” to renew existing infrastructure, which will include optimising track changes and make transporting rail cargo easier. The exact amount has not been disclosed.
The majority of the upgrade will take place in Dudzele, 10km from the Port. In 2019, 38,000 trains passed the railway switch in Dudzele.
Additionally, the Port said the most important part of the planned infrastructural works is the placement of 5 100m long new track changes. These will be custom made and mounted on a concrete cross beam and weigh 112 tonnes each. The new track changes are placed in such a manner that allows a capacity increase and improve the Port’s intermodal capabilities.
Infrabel said these will be “less prone to failure, more durable and they are also more maintenance-friendly than their predecessors”. In addition to being safer, they will make trains more punctual and reliable. Finally, the new switches are made in such a way that they also produce less noise (compared to the old types) when trains are passing over.
In addition, two bends in the track will be straightened simultaneously over a length of one km. This is good for comfort, because from now on trains can continue straight ahead and ensures a smoother flow of train traffic. In Dudzele, 6 km of overhead lines will also be renewed, the signaling will be adapted to the new configuration and the specialists from Infrabel will also be laying another 700 meters of new track.
Tom Hautekiet, CEO Port of Zeebrugge: “Rail is an important transport mode for the port of Zeebrugge. Our coastal port provides numerous connections to the European hinterland. The optimization of the railway road towards the port is beneficial for our intermodal strategy in the future.”
The works will be completed by the end of November.