Inland terminals have become more attractive because of increased congestion problems of other modes of transport. Containers or commodities that have to be shipped to a port can be discharged at an inland port. Inland navigation can transport large volumes to the port’s heartland. These terminals are a key feature to decrease the number of truck transports to the port area and offers increased sustainability advantages. When handled commodity flows are significant, regular liner services can be set up.
These services offer commercial packages to ports and locations near to canals and rivers. The Province of Antwerp is home to a number of inland terminals and dry ports. The WCT terminal at Meerhout is one of the premier examples of increased logistics flexibility offered to customers like Nike. Inland terminals are well fitted to allow commodity flow bundling and reduced transportation costs. The results of pilot projects clearly show that bundling offers advantages to all participants.
Inland terminals are a key feature of the Extended Gateway concept applied in Flanders. These terminals initially handle cargo but can also offer advanced value added services available to customers. In the wake of increased capacity problems of traditional road haulage operations inland terminals become more attractive. The Extended Gateway offers significant benefits to logistics operations and sustainability. Next tot inland terminals several dry ports are available. Instead of handling inland navigation cargo trains are being charged and discharged. The Province of Antwerp offers a dry port at Muizen near Mechelen. On this site trains and trucks can be interchanged as regular shipping services are offered to distant locations without straining the available highway network.
Underground transport systems offer a viable solution to flank traditional modes of transport. By the use of these new networks ports are enabled to interconnect to hub located outside the port area. Currently no plans or policies exist to start up underground transport but if traditional modes cannot cope with increased cargo volumes this option will gain more attention. Underground transportation can be extended to different underground levels offering an almost unlimited expansion of shipping capacity.