Combinant aims to take 150,000 trucks off the road per year


Antwerp – 29 April 2010. The new Combinant multimodal road-rail terminal has been operational since 1 March. It is a new open terminal at the north of Antwerp port which is accessible to all haulage firms, rail operators and producers from all sectors. As a result, Combinant is the first open terminal in the region at large. It is being officially presented today by Chairman Wouter De Geest and General Manager Ben Beirnaert at a client event in the presence of Minister-President Kris Peeters. Through his attendance, Kris Peeters aims to emphasise the importance of this terminal for the further development of Antwerp port as the Flemish logistical hub within Europe and its contribution to sustainable mobility.

Combinant NV is a joint venture between BASF (45%), the Swiss private train operator Hupac (35%) and the NMBS subsidiary and terminal operator IFB (20%). An investment of € 29 million was associated with the construction of this terminal, of which € 5 million was subsidised by Flanders and € 4.3 million by Europe.

Combinant aims to offset a shortage of intermodal rail infrastructure in the Antwerp port area through this new multimodal terminal. Combinant also hopes to help prevent the threat of congestion on the roads. At the same time, both transport costs and the environmental impact will be reduced and transport safety enhanced.

Open Access concept
Due to its location in the north of Antwerp, the Combinant terminal is easily reachable for container traffic from the port, Flanders and the Netherlands. It is accessible for all intermodal units and containers operated by customers and haulage firms from all sectors, without distinction. No distinction will be made either between the public or private status of rail companies. Locomotives and trains belonging to different operators can already be seen at the terminal today.   

Combinant is therefore the first open terminal in a wider environment. This open nature reinforces competition and supports competitive transport concepts where costs are pushed down, meaning that rail transport can attract more volume.

Various destinations throughout Europe
Combinant will serve various destinations throughout Europe with 10 to 12 trains per day. Containers which are taken off the road accordingly can be transported even further into the European hinterland via these destinations.

The French cities of Hendaye and Perpignan and the Luxembourg city of Bettembourg are visited several times per week. In the coming months, these will be supplemented by Verona, Novara (Italy), Duisburg, Ludwigshafen (Germany) and Vienna in Austria. In the second half of the year, the network is expanding even further to include Schwarzheide (Germany) and Busto (Italy).

Contribution to sustainable mobility: a 10 km reduction in tailbacks in Flanders every day
The terminal itself occupies a surface area of around 12.5 ha or approximately 25 football pitches, has 5 operational railway tracks and 5 shunting tracks, 3 large gantry cranes, a great deal of storage space and can process from 10 to 12 trains per day. This means that it can remove 150,000 container movements per year from the road and bring these to the railway. This represents a reduction of no less than 30,000 tonnes of CO2 and a daily elimination of 10 km of tailbacks in Flanders.

Investment at the right moment – completion of infrastructure with a missing link to the Netherlands
“In times of crisis, we cannot let our heads hang. This attitude would not fit in at all with Antwerp and its port,” says Chairman Wouter De Geest, defending the investment. He continues: “This terminal is a wonderful project that demonstrates that both industrial partners and logistics companies believe in the future. Furthermore it is a great example of how we make intelligent, anti-cyclical investments, with economic and ecological added value.”

“Construction of the Combinant terminal stayed perfectly on schedule and we predict that the terminal will adopt an important position in the European logistics network. We expect that the terminal will reach its maximum capacity during 2011. Moreover, this investment ties in nicely with substantial government investments in the Liefkenshoek railway tunnel and the planned second goods rail link for the port of Antwerp”, adds General Manager Ben Beirnaert.

“The puzzle will all fit together if the Belgian and Dutch governments try to remedy a missing 5 km rail link to connect the port railway infrastructure via the A12 to the Dutch network to Roosendaal. This means that we could relieve the existing rail lines and have a second Dutch access point to our port infrastructure”, concludes Chairman Wouter De Geest.

Press info:
- Ben Beirnaert, Combinant General Manager: +32 (0)478 258 793
- Philippe Heyvaert, BASF Antwerp communication: +32 (0)495 23 16 90