German railway bridge dismantled, 106.000 tons goods loss follows

A sagged German railway bridge is now waiting to be dismantled after a flood. The bridge is located in the German city of Dinslaken, around fifteen kilometres south of the port of Emmelsum. The railway bridge is a crucial railway node for the port, and its absence could disrupt the transit of 106.000 tons of goods per month.

Actions were taken since last Friday, 23 June, when heavy regional rain led to the flood and ultimately caused the collapse of the railway bridge. The bridge is situated above the Emscher River estuary in Dinslaken and has a single track that only serves freight trains. German government officials feared the bridge could slip into the river entirely.

As a result, Deutsche Bahn (DB) is developing solutions to dismantle the bridge, which could alleviate safety concerns in the region. However, there is no specific plan or timeframe for its restoration and return to operations. For the port of Emmelsum, this is not good news.

Image: © City of Dinslaken.

106.000 tons of cargo loss

Deltaport, the company that owns the port of Emmelsum, disclosed that the damaged railway bridge would make it impossible to reach the port via rail. Being part of the «Oberhausen-Spellen» track, which facilitates the transport of goods between barges and trains in the port of Emmelsum, the absence of this railway bridge will cause a loss of 53,000 tons of cargo via rail per month. This railway link facilitated the flow of 650,000 tons of goods in 2022. Thus, the dismantling of the railway bridge has left the port in limbo. «In the worst case, we expect a total loss of 106.000 tons per month in the barge and rail handling segment,» says Deltaport.

Shift to trucks

To address the absence of trains, Deltaport mentioned that increased truck transportation would be utilised, especially for bulk goods. Currently, rail traffic accounts for 36 per cent of the overall modality capacity, truck traffic accounts for fourteen per cent, while shipping accounts for 50 per cent. The missing rail connection disrupts intermodality in the port. Should there be another railway bridge to fill the void? The question is still too early to be answered, but the port of Emmelsum will definitely say yes.

Autor/a Chengfan Zhao