Port of Antwerp achieves European first with neutral hump yard operation

Port of Antwerp achieves European first with neutral hump yard operation
@Benjamin Brolet / portofantwerpbruges.com

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Railport Antwerp, Lineas, and Infrabel have achieved a European first with the neutral operation of the automatic hump yard in the port. This joint effort will benefit all rail operators by making shunting services available on equal terms, streamlining the assembly of freight trains, and freeing up capacity in busy rail yards.


The Port of Antwerp has achieved a European first by operating its hump yard in a neutral way, making it available to all rail operators on equal terms. The automatic shunting facility at the Antwerp North marshalling yard can assemble freight trains up to six times faster, but until now its use has been limited due to the high investment required for shunting locomotives and skilled personnel.

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Railport Antwerp, Lineas, and Infrabel have collaborated on a joint plan for the neutral to address this issue. The neutral management of the shunting plant is an important part of the sustainable rail vision 2030, which aims to double the proportion of freight transported by rail in the port of Antwerp by 2030. This modal shift seeks to make rail more attractive so that more and more companies choose it, resulting in fewer trucks and less road congestion.

Neutral management not only lowers the threshold for rail operators, but it also encourages cooperation between different companies in order to collect their goods. This eliminates unnecessary train movements and frees up more capacity in the very busy rail yards in the Antwerp port area, making freight rail transport safer, faster, more efficient, economical, and environmentally friendly.

To make everything even more efficient, Infrabel and PoAB are working on a powerful software program that will be linked to the marshalling facility. Customers will be able to monitor the status of their freight train and/or wagons in real time and see every step of the shunting process. In collaboration with the neutral operator Lineas, the infrastructure manager will ultimately be responsible for planning, allocating capacity, and finding solutions in the event of double bookings.

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