Liefkenshoek Railway Connection

Antwerp, Belgium
Delivering a major freight-only railway link that has substantially improved the transportation of containers between Belgium and the rest of the world
5th November 2008 Financial Close
2008 – 2013 Construction Period
38 years Concession Period
2051 Handback
Liefkenshoek Railway Connection

The background

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges is a major seaport located in Antwerp, Belgium, and is one of the busiest ports in Europe. It plays a crucial role in international trade, serving as a gateway for the import and export of goods between Europe and the rest of the world.

Since the opening of the Deurganck Dock, the port saw a substantial increase in rail freight traffic due to growing shipping activity. The Port of Antwerp-Bruges, which handles an estimated 11.9 million containers every year, required additional capacity to improve the efficiency and reliability of freight transport. Trains were being redirected to the busy Kennedy rail tunnel and the saturated Berchem intersection, leading to major delays and congestion.

To address this issue, client Infrabel, the Belgian Railway Infrastructure Operator, sought a trusted partner to deliver Liefkenshoek Railway Connection, a 16.2 km freight-only railway link. In 2008, Locorail NV a consortium including Invesis were awarded the PPP contract to design, build, finance and maintain the concession.

Since 2016, Invesis is the 100% sponsor of the concession which emphasises our long-term commitment to clients. Liefkenshoek Railway Connection is one of the largest infrastructural projects ever to be embarked on under the PPP model in Belgium.



Capital Value





Locorail NV

Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC)

CEI - de Meyer (BAM) and Wayss & Freytag (BAM) Vinci Grand Projects and CFE (MBG)

Operations and Maintenance (O&M)

Locorail NV

Business value

During the construction phase of the Liefkenshoek rail connection, several challenges had to be overcome, including complex engineering and construction works, as the railway line was being built in an underwater tunnel.

Prompt delivery of the project was necessary to minimise disruption to existing transport routes. Locorail NV worked with the client and our partners to ensure that the rail link could be delivered on time by integrating an innovative design solution, using 2.1 m thick steel-fiber-reinforced underwater concrete slab to reduce the construction time.

The tunnel has a capacity of up to 50 freight trains per day and can accommodate trains traveling at speeds of up to 120 km/h. Thanks to the Liefkenshoek rail line which has been operational since 2014, trains can complete 100 two-way trips every day without leaving the port area.

Through fostering collaborative relationships with our partners, Locorail NV were able to support Infrabel in delivering a vital piece of infrastructure that has boosted the economy through the efficient transportation of containers, and increased competitiveness for businesses.


Key features

By using the PPP model and by partnering with Locorail NV, the project…

  • was recognised as the Infrastructure Deal of the Year in Europe by PFI (Project Finance International)
  • travel time has been reduced by 40 minutes
  • is the only rail project in the world that uses a firefighting system throughout the entire tunnel, where foam is dispersed to put out fire