Rail Freight with the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link

Investments are needed to make the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link a game changer for freight transport


Road transport could increase by 120% and rail transport could decrease further once the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link opens, unless investments are made in infrastructure in Sweden and Denmark to solve bottlenecks and capacity problems. 

The Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link will be completed in 2029, eliminating the need for a 160 km detour through Denmark for freight trains. This will reduce transport times by about 2.5 hours for rail and about 1 hour for road transport, contributing to efficient logistics between Scandinavia and continental Europe. High expectations have been set on the link, not least in terms of green transport, with more freight on rail and fewer lorries on the roads.

STRING and Greater Copenhagen have asked Sweco to prepare this report. It shows that the link has all the prerequisites to become a game changer in freight transport. But it will not happen by itself. More investment in the railway network whithin the ScanMed (Scandinavian-Mediterranean) corridor is needed. Bottlenecks and lack of capacity are already contributing, along with other factors, to an increase in road freight transport and a decrease in rail transport. Without investment, this trend could continue even after the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link has been opened. Road freight transport could increase by up to 120%, while rail freight transport could decrease further.

If more freight is transported by rail, it will reduce CO2 emissions, which is a prerequisite for achieving the EU’s climate targets. It would also reduce congestion, particulate emissions and abrasion on roads, all the while being safer than road transport.


Previous forecasts too positive

In 2014, a forecast showed that 165,000 tonnes of freight per year would be shifted from road to rail once the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link was in place. The new report shows that in the light of recent developments this forecast was too positive. The calculation now shows 9 fewer freight trains per day.

    • The report makes for a worrying read, as it shows that without investments in the rail network, we will not be able to utilise the full potential of the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link in terms of green transport. The Öresund Bridge land connection on the Swedish side, four tracks from Lund to Hässleholm and preferably all the way to Stockholm, and a new transhipment terminal in Denmark are some of the investments that need to be made to solve bottlenecks and capacity problems and to make rail more competitive, says Tue David Bak, Managing Director, Greater Copenhagen.
    • We need to address the remaining challenges to strengthen the role of the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link and maximise the incredible opportunities it offers, says Thomas Becker, Managing Director, STRING.

You can read the full report including an executive summary here:

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