Inland Access

Vue générale du Port Est
Rail and inland waterway transport have played an important role in pre-routing and on-forwarding in the Port of Dunkirk for many years. The modal share of so-called alternative transport is higher than 60%.

Fully in line with the Grenelle Environment Law and the French government’s commitment to rail freight, the Port of Dunkirk’s strategic plan includes an ambitious plan of action designed to increase the volumes of consolidated overland transport and thus maintain the large modal share of non-road freight in goods carriage.

The use of alternative transport modes is increasing following the signature, in March 2009, of a new Progress Contract between Dunkerque-Port, French Inland Waterways (VNF), the Stevedores Association SPEM and the Maritime and Commercial Union (UMC), and a memorandum of
understanding signed between the French Rail Network (RFF) and Dunkerque-Port

Road :

The Port of Dunkirk enjoys direct, fast access to the western European motorway network via the A25 and the A16. 

Inland waterway :

With an annual traffic volume of 2.4 MT, Dunkirk is the leading inland waterway port of the Nord-Pas de Calais region. The wide-gauge Dunkirk-Valenciennes canal allows inland waterway vessels of 3,000 T to sail to the main inland ports of the Nord-Pas de Calais region. The inland waterway network of Belgium and the Rhine is accessible to convoys of 1,350 T. The opening of the Seine-North Europe canal in 2016 will extend the port’s inland waterway hinterland to Picardy and the Paris area.

Rail :

The rail traffic generated by the port and the industrial-port area is of the order of 14 MT a year, making Dunkirk the foremost French rail freight hub with 12% of national freight.

A vast investment programme to optimise the port’s rail links was launched for the 2009-2013 period, in an amount of 61.5 M€. It is intended primarily to increase the port’s rail capacity, allow direct access by electric traction to the Western Port sidings (serving the bulk and container terminals as well as the logistics areas) and optimise the interface between the port’s railway lines and the national rail grid.
The north-eastern branch of the French rail network is connected to the Western Port by an end-to-end electrified line which allows the movement of heavy bulk trains, particularly towards eastern France.