The maritime link between Esbjerg, Denmark and Zeebrugge, Belgium, in service since 2005, has provided an intermodal alternative to truck transport between Denmark and the Benelux countries.
This project will be further developed into a Benelux-Scandinavia shortsea bridge. The upgrade of the service will consist of the coordinated increase of the frequency on the Zeebrugge-Esbjerg route, investment in infrastructure and facilities and the adoption of accompanying measures to foster integration of various parts of the intermodal chain.
This includes an increase in service by doubling of the capacity of the ro-ro (roll on, roll off) connection between Esbjerg and Zeebrugge. A Motorways of the Sea approach merits in cost savings (up to some 40%) and less CO² emissions (58%) than the alternative road connection. In addition, it reduces congestion on very busy parts of the EU road network.
The investment in infrastructure and facilities associated with the upgrade of the maritime link consists of a floating ro-ro ramp, the extension of an access way in Esbjerg, a ro-ro jetty, gantry cranes and ICT development in Zeebrugge. The project will give way to major improvements in the handling of goods and attract more goods on the ro-ro based intermodal concept.
State of progress on 31 December 2011:
The Action is progressing well and is on track. The activities related to the floating Ro-Ro ramp and the Ro-Ro jetty were finalised in 2009 and 2011, respectively. The extension of the access way in Esbjerg is ongoing. All works are on schedule and the road is expected to open before the end of 2012.