The Port of Rotterdam will get its first direct train shuttle connection with Salzburg. The first arrival is scheduled for today, around noon at the Rail Service Center (RSC) in the Eemhaven area and early in the evening the ECT Maasvlakte follows. On Saturday, the latter terminal welcomes the second shuttle.
The service is incorporated by operator Intercontainer Austria, ICA, in its ‘Flying Dutchman’-system which includes frequent connections of Enns, Wels and Vienna with Rotterdam as well. The initial frequency Salzburg-Rotterdam is twice weekly of which one time directly and both RSC and Maasvlakte. The second weekly train comes from Wels, loads on Friday in Salzburg and is Saturday night at ECT Maasvlakte, only. Westbound the service is A/B and eastbound A/C.
After a, volume wise, depressing period since October 2008, managing director Cor Hoenders of RSC signals ‘green shoots’ again: “We have already scheduled several new services of which Salzburg and Oslo are the most concrete. After the start of the new international rail scheme at December 13, the number of destinations and the frequencies can rise further. However, I want to stay realistic because we will get the traditional dip in volumes in the first months of the year and after that people tend to get focussed on the new international rail scheme in spring. When we gradually return to the top level of mid 2008 in some 2-3 years, we will have no reason to complain”.
Defend market share
The market share of Rotterdam in container transport to and from Austria has gone up in a few years to approximately 25% in 2008. Some 80% of the boxes are moved via train shuttles, in 2009 and average 16-17 weekly. The Rotterdam Representative for Austria and Slovakia, Franz Zauner: ‘The share reflects the possibilities of Rotterdam but is under pressure. The Adriatic ports are running up strong and the traditional German rail ports for Austria are fighting back. That’s why we are improving the rail quality of Rotterdam. The Betuwe Route is the first leap forward in this respect; the second one is getting a better grip on the rail chain within the port area by Keyrail and the various market parties. This is beginning to show results. And, of course we are stimulating new services, such as the Salzburg shuttle, by the operators”.
More information on the shuttle: www.intercontainer.at