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BCA Intermodal starts new rail shuttle service

Amsterdam, 9 May 2011 – BCA Intermodal, part of port and logistics company the Ter Haak Group, is to initiate a new rail shuttle service between the port of Rotterdam and the tri-modal inland terminal in Strasbourg, France. The Alsace Rail Shuttle will initially comprise two departures per week in each direction, with a guaranteed A-to-B link. This will be the first direct, fast and frequent rail connection between the two cities, and the first train will depart from Rotterdam on 23 May 2011. Freight bookings will be handled by inland shipping subsidiary BCA.

The new container shuttle will service the ECT Delta, APMT and Euromax terminals in Rotterdam, as well as the empty depots. Targeting shippers and carriers operating in the Alsace region and across the Rhine in Germany, the rail service will represent an inexpensive, fast and clean alternative to road transport. It will also compete favourably with inland navigation whenever shippers require a faster turnaround at a reasonable fixed price and wish to avoid complications linked to water levels and fuel prices on the Rhine. Rail transport is more dependable, not least because it sidesteps any unforeseen blockages on the river, such as the one caused by the sinking of the inland tanker Waldhof earlier this year. Finally, the handling of trains at deep sea terminals is generally more reliable than that of barges.

"We carried out thorough market research and had detailed discussions with all major carriers and shippers operating in and around Strasbourg.” Mattijs Nollen, general manager of BCA, explains. “The proposal to set up a faster intermodal service between Rotterdam and Strasbourg received overwhelmingly positive reactions. And since we already operate container barges on this route, the new product will allow us to offer the perfect intermodal mix with a flexible combination of speed, capacity and price.

“We are convinced that the product will be a success. We have received enthusiastic responses from the harbour of Rotterdam, which can now raise its profile in the French region of Alsace, as well as from the port authority of Strasbourg, which now has a faster, direct connection to the largest seaport in Europe. Shippers and logistics service providers have also responded well to the new rail service – Wincanton, for instance, have already announced its intention to use this shuttle service frequently.”

Ter Haak aims to increase the frequency of the new service to three weekly departures in the near future. This will allow an ideal distribution of service over the week. 

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