Logistics in Brabant: increasingly intelligent management of goods flows

Due to its favourable location on the major transport routes between the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp and the German Rhine region, North Brabant has offered significant logistics opportunities for many years.

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Due to its favourable location on the major transport routes between the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp and the German Rhine region, North Brabant has offered significant logistics opportunities for many years. Measured in square meters, almost one third of the large distribution centres that service the Netherlands nationally - including well-known names such as Bol.com, Primark and Lidl - are now situated in Brabant. The region is also consistently named as the home base of the busiest logistics hotspots in the Netherlands. The 2019 ranking list names West Brabant as the third prominent national hotspot, Tilburg/Waalwijk is first on the list. 

Sustainable network growth

The hubs in Brabant are connected by 356 kilometres of railway lines, 22,600 kilometres of roads, almost 500 kilometres of rivers and canals and no less than 656 kilometres of pipelines, all of which are part of a strategic vision for a safe, smart and sustainable mobility network in the region. In practice, this means a shift away from road transport towards transport by water, rail and pipelines.

Smart logistics

Furthermore, Brabant wants to strengthen its position in this sector through ‘smart logistics’, i.e. by promoting an awareness that logistics is much more than simply moving goods from one location to another. Organising the flow of goods requires smart planning, smart management and smart execution.

In Brabant, governments, knowledge institutes and commercial parties collaborate to ensure that businesses have access to all modes of transport for shipping or receiving goods.

More effective use of the road network

A further aim is to minimise congestion and negative environmental impacts. This is achieved through projects that encourage people to avoid driving in the rush hour, promote groupage transport to reduce the number of half-empty trucks on the road and incentivise the use of alternative modes of transport.

Six rail terminals

Brabant has six terminals where goods can be transferred from or to the railways from other modes of transport. The aim is to encourage rail freight transport without placing an extra burden on the already busy railway line through Breda, Tilburg and Eindhoven.

Improved canal network

In Brabant, there is also a strong focus on increased and more efficient use of the rivers and canals. For example, the Wilhelmina Canal in Tilburg has been widened and deepened, and the Maxima Canal in 's-Hertogenbosch has been rerouted and equipped to handle larger and longer ships.

Initiatives for diverting flows of goods away from road haulage to rail freight make transport faster and more efficient by exploiting opportunities for grouping cargo shipments destined for the seaports. The West Brabant corridor, which runs towards Rotterdam, is an example of this; container flows from terminals in Tilburg, Oosterhout and Moerdijk are grouped on their way to the deep water ports.

Cross-border pipeline

In West Brabant, a corridor has been created for the pipelines that carry gas and liquids on the Rotterdam-Moerdijk-Antwerp route. The use of pipelines in the Netherlands, particularly in the chemical industry, is becoming increasingly popular. This development has not been adopted so quickly in neighbouring countries however, which is why Brabant is urging the European Commission to include pipeline transport in European transport policy.

Photo: Peter van Trijen

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