Netherlands rail infrastructure management company ProRail’s annual freight report has shown a 10% drop in traffic in 2023. 

The drop was attributed to the energy market, which took more coal in 2022 after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to sanctions on its natural gas exports. Coal from around the world is imported to Dutch ports such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, where it can transit onto intermodal European networks, or the canal and river network, into Germany’s Rhine-Ruhr industrial heartland. 

It represented 18% of rail freight cargo in 2023, as traffic fell from 9.7 million tonnes in 2022 to 7.9 million tonnes last year. 

ProRail said Intermodal traffic also fell 8% year-on-year in 2023, totaling 17.8m tonnes, which the organisation said was also impacted by global economic woes. 

The report noted the Port of Rotterdam remained crucial to rail freight traffic in the Netherlands, with 35,000 trains to and from the port in 2023, moving 28.1m tonnes of cargo. 

But that figure is also down 8% on 2022, in line with the overall drop reported.

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