ECS, the market leader in supply chain solutions and intermodal transport, is inaugurating a new rail route between Zeebrugge and the Czech Republic. This route will be the first ever direct rail link between the port of Zeebrugge and Eastern Europe. The already existing ECS corridors between Western and Eastern Europe, which run between Rotterdam, Vienna and Warsaw, among others, thus receive a valuable alternative. A full goods train runs back and forth weekly, taking 4,400 trucks off the road network every year, good for a CO2 reduction of 3,000 tonnes.
On Monday 11 September 2023, the very first ECS company train to the Czech Republic left Zeebrugge. Every week, a train will leave on Monday with 44 containers full of raw materials to reach its destination in the Czech Republic on Wednesday. The same day, the train with finished products returns to Zeebrugge with arrival on Friday. These products are then stored in ECS' rail-connected highbay warehouse, from where they are further transported to the UK via short sea shipping. The new connection was realised in cooperation with Lineas, the largest private rail freight operator in Europe.
This new rail link takes as many as 4,400 containers on as many trucks off the road every year, saving 3,000 tonnes of CO2. This fits in perfectly with ECS's CSR strategy: creating sustainable & reliable logistics. By 2025, ECS wants to get its share of rail transport to 50%, and by 2030 to more than 60%. In 2023, ECS expects to cover around 75 million rail kilometres. Not only will this have a positive effect on the congestion of the road network, it will also significantly reduce CO2 emissions.
This new route between Zeebrugge and the Czech Republic has been developed exclusively with and for a loyal customer of ECS. In the short term, ECS, in cooperation with Lineas, plans to scale up this connection with an additional train. Given the upcoming doubling of the German Maut (road toll), an extra push is expected towards intermodal solutions; which can then be shipped further intermodally from Zeebrugge or Rotterdam towards the UK, Ireland or Southern Europe via already existing corridors.
ECS CEO Sven Pieters emphasises the uniqueness of this cooperation. "ECS is responsible for the entire logistics process. That starts with the delivery of raw materials and ends with the delivery of finished products to retailers. That end-to-end approach is only possible by making maximum use of our intermodal network of trains, ships and trucks."
The future of this green train corridor already looks bright. In fact, ECS plans to increase the frequency of the number of trains early next year. "From conversations already held with other customers, it appears that there is interest in this," Sven Pieters looks ahead.