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The port of Hirtshals, Nordjyske railroads, and DB Cargo cooperate to shift cargo from road to rail

    Aerial photo of the Port of Hirtshals Photo: Hans Ravn

    A pilot project to test the feasibility of a rail freight connection between Norway and continental Europe through the Jutland corridor will commence on May 2nd. The freight train, which connects with Color Line and Fjordline, will provide the market with environmental benefits and create a direct connection to over 200 freight terminals in Europe.

    The port of Hirtshals, Nordjyske railroads, and DB Cargo have discussed increasing freight transport on the railway for some time, and their cooperation has resulted in the Hirtshals Connection pilot. The Pilot links the freight ferries from Color Line and Fjordline to Duisburg via Taulov, Hamburg, and Hannover in approximately 20 hours. Competitive pricing aims to make rail freight prices competitive with road transport.  

    Photo: Port of Hirtshals

    The Pilot also clearly signals that the involved parties will collaborate with the customers to establish a fixed connection from December 2024. The freight train connects to a network of over 200 terminals in Europe with DB Cargo Scandinavia and, via Kristiansand, to 12 terminals in Norway with CargoNet. 

    We expect that from the beginning of 2025, freight trains will be able to run from Hirtshals to European destinations three to five times a week. We experience increased demand for this type of freight transport, and approximately 10-20 percent of the truck trailers that pass through the port of Hirtshals Harbor each day could use the freight train. This 20% corresponds to about 38 trailers per day.

    Michael Rosenlund Langballe, Head of Transport & Logistics på Hirtshals Havn

    Although Hirtshals Havn, Nordjyske Jernbaner, and DB Cargo agree to prioritize rail transport, the success of the Pilot is dependent upon a market response.

    CO2 savings of 1,600 kg per trailer

    The three initiators behind the Hirtshals Connection pilot emphasize the economic and climate benefits of lifting freight on the railway.

    The freight train can also transport CO2 from Germany to the future CO2 hub in Hirtshals when the storage and shipping of CO2 to empty oil and gas fields in the North Sea begins in 2025. It will take a few years before a pipeline is built to CO2, and in the interim period, the railway is an obvious alternative.

    About The Green Jutland Corridor

    The Jutland Corridor is a transport route connecting Southern Norway and Western Sweden with Europe via the ports of Larvik, Grenland, Kristiansand, and Gothenburg in Jutland, Denmark. 

    The Jutland Corridor

    The route is multimodal, i.e., it uses combinations of road, rail, and sea. From southern Norway, the Jutland Corridor is the shortest route to the continent and thus provides a shortcut.

    The route is vital for business in the regions. The corridor also serves as a relief route for transport between Gothenburg and Oslo.

    Color Line’s two daily sailings between Larvik and Hirtshals transport 84,500 freight units annually, making the Port of Larvik Norway’s largest ferry port for goods. A rail connection on the Norwegian and Danish sides will provide environmental benefits and new freight transport opportunities.

    Color Line docking in the Port of Hirtshals
    Photo: Color Line

    CargoNet will operate Kristiansand-Trondheim-Bodø directly in case of sufficient demand, with a throughput time reduced by a minimum of 10 hours to further strengthen the Jutland Corridor.

    Read more about Green Jutland Corridor here