ECS has unveiled a rail link between Zeebrugge and the Czech Republic, creating the first direct rail link between the port of Zeebrugge and Eastern Europe. This development provides an alternative to the existing ECS corridors between Western and Eastern Europe, such as those between Rotterdam, Vienna, and Warsaw. The inaugural rail journey was launched on 11 September 2023 and is expected to significantly reduce road traffic, with a single freight train taking an impressive 4,400 lorries off the road each year and contributing to a CO2 reduction of 3,000 tonnes.
The creation of this link has been made possible through a collaboration with Lineas. Every Monday, a special ECS train leaves Zeebrugge carrying 44 containers of raw materials destined for the Czech Republic. The train reaches its destination on Wednesday and returns to Zeebrugge the same day, this time loaded with finished products. These products are then stored in ECS's rail-connected high-bay warehouse, ready for further transport to the UK via short sea shipping.
The establishment of this Zeebrugge-Czech Republic rail link was designed exclusively for a dedicated ECS customer. In the near future, ECS, in collaboration with Lineas, plans to add another train to this service. As the German Maut (road toll) is set to double in the coming years, further impetus toward intermodal solutions is expected. These goods can then continue their intermodal journey from Zeebrugge or Rotterdam to destinations in the UK, Ireland, or Southern Europe via the existing corridors.