ConnectRAIL points towards rail freight traffic to Hirtshals

The conference ConnectRAIL, held in Hirtshals on Friday, 1 November 2019, attracted cargo owners and hauliers from five European countries, all of whom wanted to meet some of the largest railway operators in Europe. The aim of the conference was to pave the way for the start-up of rail freight traffic to and from Hirtshals from September 2020, when the railway blockages in Jutland have been completed.

ConnectRAIL which was aimed at cargo owners and hauliers was opened by the Danish Minister of Transport Benny Engelbrecht (A), who in his opening speech emphasised, among other things, the need of cooperation between the state and the transport sector in the future development of the national infrastructure. The programme of the day was based on presentations from some of the largest European rail freight operators, each presenting their proposal for rail freight transport between Hirtshals and destinations in Europe.

The railway operators Kombiverkehr, CFL Multimodal and GreenCargo each presented their services on the European railway network as well as their thoughts on how Hirtshals could be connected to the already existing network. In this way, it was visualised how Hirtshals will become part of the rail freight logistics in Europe. Thereby, ConnectRAIL made it clear that multimodal transport solutions combining railway, sea and road transport will be an important part of the future cargo transport in Europe. Apart from the fact that multimodal transport solutions will contribute to a reduced climate impact, it will also increase road safety.

Chairman of the board of the Port of Hirtshals, Anker Laden-Andersen welcomed to ConnectRAIL, and after the conference he could with satisfaction draw a conclusion on the day.

- We had an expectation that the conference would launch concrete agreements between the cargo owners and/or hauliers and the rail freight operators, and in this field, we probably did not reach as far as we had hoped. However, we have noted that contacts between the different participants have been established far beyond our expectations, and we are confident that these contacts will contribute to traffic start-up by the end of 2020 or early 2021, Anker Laden-Andersen says.

Nordsøen in Hirtshals framed the conference. Here it was both possible to attend arranged speed dating meetings and to have informal discussions in the very special environment that Nordsøen offers.