Three companies, Cluster Agrotechniek Westland, Dutch construction company Ballast Nedam and German intermodal logistics CargoBeamer have agreed to carry out a feasibility study into the proposed terminal, which will use CargoBeamer's parallel loading and unloading system to load lorry semitrailers onto trains.

Rail plays only a minor role in Europe's sizable market for fresh produce as lorries have long offered a more flexible and reliable alternative for this highly time-sensitive sector.

The three partners hope that the development of the Westland terminal will give rail a basis to compete for long-distance flows to Germany and Central and Eastern Europe. Transferring fresh produce to rail could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 70% and reduce road congestion around Rotterdam and its extensive port area.