The project

The main focus in the years to come will be the development of the plans for better rail access in North Sea Port between Terneuzen and Ghent.

We aim at three infrastructure projects:

  • a new connection on the east bank between Axel in the Netherlands and Zelzate in Belgium;
  • a new south-east curve in the railway east of the Sluiskil bridge;
  • the expansion of and access to the north of the railway bundle at the Kluizendok ('Zandeken').

The Netherlands and Belgium/Flanders will jointly provide 4 million euros (50/50) for the further development of the Rail Ghent Terneuzen plan. The parties signing the plan are hopeful that Europe will co-finance their unique cross-border rail project.


Intentieverklaring (NL)*   Bijlagen (NL)*

*) English translation? Contact us.

Together. Smarter.

A speedy development of the railways in the North Sea Port area is supported at national level. The area around Gent and Terneuzen is growing into one coherent cross-border region with respect to its labour market, housing market, cultural and health care provisions.

See below the ideas of the Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Flemish Minister for Mobility and Public Works.

Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters:

Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management Stientje van Veldhoven:

Transporting goods by train is a sustainable alternative to road transport and so it is only right that we look at possible new rail links. By looking into the old wish for improving the railway connection between Ghent and Terneuzen, we may bring a solution a step closer. It is a good thing that the Netherlands and Belgium are working together on this.

Stientje van Veldhoven, Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management

All parties signing the letter of intent share ambitions for regional growth and the development of a dynamic and thriving North Sea Port. Further development of rail access in the port area is essential. This will improve the accessibility of the companies. It will support the development of multimodal transport in the port, allowing better combinations of rail and inland waterways, maritime, road and pipeline transports. Extra rail access will also support the climate policy by stimulating sustainable transport and quality of life in and around the port area. Passenger rail transport may be feasible in the future.

Flanders are applauding the Rail Ghent Terneuzen initiative. It shows how we can achieve our modal shift objectives through cooperation. A shift to rail will not only reduce road freight traffic, it also provides a logistical and economic boost and ultimately a positive impact on our air quality and climate. Flemish rail priorities, included in the strategic multi-year plan of Infrabe have focussed on railway line 204. The Rail Ghent Terneuzen declaration of intent means more attention for the Ghent port area.

Lydia Peeters, Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works

investment climate
and competitiveness

North Sea Port is ambitious in terms of sustainability. Improved rail infrastructure has an important part to play in a sustainable modal split because it will enable a shift from road transport to rail. In addition, the presence of sufficient and reliable railway capacity will increase the competitiveness of the companies based in the ports and will make the ports an even more attractive location for companies.

In addition to the economic aspect, improving sustainability and quality of life in and around the cross-border port area are very important motives for the three rail projects. We aim to reduce road transport in favour of sustainable alternatives such as rail. The Rail Ghent Terneuzen project could eventually take 8,500 trucks a month off the road, resulting in up to 80% less CO2 emissions per kilometre.

Daan Schalck, CEO of North Sea Port


The Rail Ghent Terneuzen rail project attracts broad support. In addition to the project partners, a large number of companies and institutions have underlined the approach and the direction of the solutions to the problem to the European Commission, including ProRail, Infrabel, umbrella organisations VNO-NCW, VOKA and the Zeeland Economic Board, transport companies in the border region, the Flemish government, the Euregio Scheldemond and the municipality of Zelzate. The cross-border rail freight transport of Rail Gent Terneuzen received unanimous political support from both the Dutch and Belgian Federal Parliaments. The Zeeland Environmental Federation has also expressed its positive opinion of the approach and the direction in which the problem is being solved.

Better rail access for North Sea Port fits in with the ambition of the Belgian government, which is to double the volume of freight transported by rail by 2030. Better rail access to the ports means profits for the domestic economy and for local businesses: one euro invested in the railways brings in an average of three euros for the economy. By taking trucks off the road, we are also supporting the climate. In addition, the connection of Ghent with Terneuzen will strengthen the international cooperation with the Netherlands. I am certain that this project will be well researched and I wait for the conclusions.

Georges Gilkinet, Belgian Minister for Mobility