Rotterdam’s first direct rail link with the cities of Barcelona, Tarragona, Irun and Madrid has been enabled by rail operator Shuttlewise, which has connected the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp through Portshuttle and the LoRo Shuttle.
The service is now running four times a week and is the last mile distribution of containers by rail from Rotterdam's Rail Service Centre (RSC) to the main hub in North Antwerp and the terminals handled by Portshuttle.
In Antwerp, where the shuttle service links up with IFB’s Spain routes, the containers are forwarded to local terminals through the IFB’s LoRo (‘Linkeroever-Rechteroever’/’Left Bank-Right Bank’) shuttle connection. This service currently operates six departures per week.
This is a new step for Shuttlewise, which started in 2009 by offering a regular service between Rotterdam and Mortara near Milan.
At the beginning of last year, Shuttlewise expanded with a new scheduled service with five round trips between Rotterdam and the town of Dourges in North France, connecting to the Novatrans trains heading towards South France.
A Shuttlewise statement said: “[The] Main motivation for this service are the direct ongoing connections to Spain using the network of Belgium operator IFB. Result is the first connection from Rotterdam to Spain where we reach four destinations: Barcelona, Tarragona, Irun and Madrid. From Madrid there are possibilities to reach Sevilla, Murcia, San Roque and Valencia.”
Shuttlewise has extended its current network with daily trains to Italy and France with this service to Belgium and Spain. In 2016 the Dutch operator ran 1,600 trains and transported over 55,000 freight containers for road and rail transport.
The Port of Antwerp released its figures for 2016 last month (January 2017) showing that the Belgian port managed to have a record breaking year.