The Port of Antwerp

Infrabel is supporting future growth in port activities with smooth railway access in and around the Port of Antwerp. The direct rail link between the Right and Left Banks (Liefkenshoek rail link) was an important milestone for rail transport in the port.

Why have a railway connection for the Port of Antwerp?

The Port of Antwerp is the largest Belgian and the second largest European port, after Rotterdam. As the port is located a long way inland along the Scheldt, it is one of the most important hubs for European and international trade.

The Port of Antwerp is still under active development. This means that the total number of containers handled at the port is gradually increasing. The construction of new container terminals will consolidate its position as a container port. The port section on the Left Bank has been greatly expanded over the last decade with the commissioning of the Deurganck dock.

Containers are transported to and from the European hinterland every day, primarily by road. 30% of the containers are transported via inland waterways, while 8% are transported by train. Smooth railway access in and around the Port of Antwerp can help increase container traffic by rail. The overall aim is to grow to 15% by 2030.

In addition to the expansion of the railway infrastructure in and around the Port of Antwerp, many other mobility projects are planned for the region. You can find more information on the Antwerp East Port portal site.

Completed projects in the Port of Antwerp

Over the past decade Infrabel has strengthened the railway infrastructure in and around the port in various strategic locations. This new infrastructure provides extra capacity on the Port of Antwerp rail network.

The Liefkenshoek Rail Link

The Liefkenshoek rail link is a direct railway line between the port facilities on the Left Bank (Waasland port) and the Right Bank (the Antwerp-North marshalling yard), where freight trains are split and joined depending on their destination. This mostly underground rail connection is essential for container traffic in the port. The Liefkenshoek rail link has been in operation since 14 December 2014.

More information on the Liefkenshoek rail link

The Ghent Curve

The Ghent Curve is a direct freight rail link between the port area on the Left Bank and the rail line towards the ports at Ghent, Zeebrugge and northern France (line 59). Thanks to this missing link, freight trains no longer have to divert via the Kennedy rail tunnel. The Ghent Curve has been in operation since April 2008.

Possible future projects in and around the Port of Antwerp

A range of other projects can support the further development of the port in the future. A capacity expansion at some busy junctions will make a modal shift within the container transport possible. The timing of these projects, however, is dependent on the decision and negotiations for the new multi annual investment plan for the track.

Ekeren-Oude Landen branch lines

The existing branch line at Schijn is a very busy rail junction. All freight trains, which travel within or outside the Port of Antwerp, pass this bottleneck. The construction of a grade-separated crossing at Oude Landen in Ekeren would create extra capacity.

Second rail network access

Today, all trains travel from the Port of Antwerp via a railway line towards the European interior on the Antwerp-North – Mortsel line (line 27A). This line must handle a lot of rail traffic and has reached its capacity limit.

The construction of a new freight line between the marshalling yard at Antwerp-North and the Lier – Aarschot line (L16) could be a solution to the current capacity problems. The second rail access should improve access to the Port of Antwerp from the interior.

Revitalisation of the Iron Rhine

The Iron Rhine is a freight rail link between the Port of Antwerp and the German Ruhr valley area. Today, however, this rail line is partly out of service. The Belgian, Dutch and German authorities are discussing the possibility of modernising and reactivating this freight axis.

More resources