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Container barges have wind in their sails

Last week TMA Logistics did a test on container barge Ms Royaal with eConowind. This is a container with collapsible sails that can be sailed partly on wind.

The container takes up little space and can therefore easily be placed on board (inland) vessels.

10% fuel savings with eConowind

On the IJsselmeer and the Wadden Sea, between Harlingen and Amsterdam, it almost always blows. This made that location ideal for testing the eConowind. Folding the system only takes five minutes. The test yielded a fuel saving of 10%. Enough reason to test this further.

Inland shipping connections with the port of Amsterdam

Logistics service provider TMA Logistics connects terminals in Harlingen, Hasselt, IJmuiden, Velsen and Amsterdam with the deep sea terminals in Rotterdam and Antwerp. TMA has fixed agreements with the deep sea terminals and bundles large volumes. With these inland shipping connections, fixed and reliable sailing schedules have been created for their customers.

Further greening

By using inland navigation, unnecessary waiting times with trucks are avoided. It also reduces traffic jams and CO2 emissions. TMA logistics wants to make their ships even greener. For example, by making more use of the wind, such as the eCono wind. TMA has also been using the MS Phoenix since 2018. This is a fully hybrid ship.

Startup ReefSystems installs artificial reef in IJmuiden

The Amsterdam Startup ReefSystems, based in Prodock, installed artificial reefs in IJmuiden on Monday 26 October to promote biodiversity.

With these reefs ReefSystems creates habitats, a natural habitat, to stimulate the growth of local marine life. With this installation ReefSystems hopes to take a step towards larger reef installations at wind farms in the North Sea.

ReefSystems' various microhabitats provide food, shelter and breeding grounds for a wide variety of species, allowing populations to grow again and restoring local ecosystems. The reef installation near IJmuiden is the first of three installations of the overarching North Sea Canal project. Wednesday 28 October a reef was installed near the Moezelhaven (brackish water) and on 3 November a reef near the Amsterdam Marine area (sweeter water).

ReefSystems designs and produces systems that promote biodiversity. In this case an artificial reef; the 'Modular Sealife System', as the founders call it. In collaboration with Port of Amsterdam, Rijkswaterstaat and Wageningen University, it stimulates the growth of various underwater populations in the North Sea Canal. Lack of habitats is, after fishing, blocking migratory routes and pollution, the biggest cause of declining biodiversity. The installation of artificial reefs creates new habitats for local and migratory fish species, crustaceans and shellfish.

Port of Amsterdam has been an active member of the North Sea Canal Fish Migration Working Group for many years. Together with the province of North Holland, Hoogheemraadschappen Hollands Noorderkwartier and Rijnland, Waterschap Amstel, Gooi and Vecht, Rijkswaterstaat, Municipality of Amsterdam and Sportvisserij MidWest Nederland. This group is trying to strengthen fish migration.

Port of Amsterdam supports blue hydrogen plant initiative in port of Den Helder

A plant to produce blue hydrogen on a large scale could be operational in Den Helder by 2027. Research by H2Gateway, a consortium of businesses and public bodies, shows that this is possible.

Port of Den Helder, Groningen Seaports and Port of Amsterdam are collaborating closely on a transition to a hydrogen economy under the name Hydroports. Hydroports believes that it is very important to construct the hydrogen backbone between these seaports. A blue hydrogen factory in Den Helder would provide an important stimulus.

The port of Den Helder is playing an important role in this initiative, according to Jacoba Bolderheij, managing director of Port of Den Helder: “Our port offers a unique location for a central blue hydrogen plant, thanks to the proximity of the gas fields under the North Sea and the presence of Western Europe's largest gas processing station. The gas infrastructure present in Den Helder together with the activity, knowledge and skills in that field can be used to speed up the supply of carbon-free hydrogen to industry elsewhere in the Netherlands. For this reason, this project also occupies an important position in the Regional Deal for Noord-Holland North which has recently been awarded by the Dutch government. Businesses in Groningen, Amsterdam and elsewhere in the Netherlands can also benefit from a blue hydrogen plant by allowing them to speed up their innovation towards more sustainable production without having to invest in carbon capture at their own location."

Blue hydrogen

Blue hydrogen is produced using natural gas, just like standard 'grey hydrogen'. CO2 is released when hydrogen is produced from natural gas. By capturing and storing this CO2 in empty gas fields it is prevented from entering the atmosphere. The hydrogen produced in this way is called 'blue hydrogen'. H2Gateway’s blue hydrogen plant could boost industry’s ambition to switch to carbon-free production technologies, and could reduce the total industrial carbon emission from the major industrial clusters in the Netherlands by some 14% and thereby make a substantial contribution to climate goals.

Amsterdam’s hydrogen initiatives

Eduard de Visser, head of Strategy & Innovation at Port of Amsterdam, says: “We are working towards a carbon-free society, and are therefore opting for hydrogen as a sustainable energy source. A blue hydrogen plant in Den Helder fits well with the other initiatives that we are also developing under the Hydroports banner. We are, for example, working with Gasunie to examine whether a regional hydrogen pipeline between IJmuiden and Amsterdam is feasible. We are also looking at creating a 100 MW hydrogen plant with Nouryon and Tata Steel. This could produce 15,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year. Hydrogen occupies an important place in the Dutch climate agreement. The potential introduction of a blue hydrogen plant brings a circular and emission-free economy a step closer."

A good national transport network - a hydrogen backbone - is required in order to develop an open market for hydrogen. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate and the network operators TenneT and Gasunie are working on that hydrogen backbone in the Highway27 project in order to be able to connect all the regions. The blue hydrogen plant in Den Helder will be able to supply hydrogen on a large scale via that network. It would allow this plant to act as a stimulus for businesses that want to switch to hydrogen but are still hesitating because a 24/7 supply of green hydrogen on a large scale cannot be guaranteed in the near future.

Floating battery as clean energy source for city and port

Under the name Project Clean Amsterdam, Skoon Energy and Port of Amsterdam are launching a floating battery that provides the city and port with clean energy. In this way, the two companies contribute to relieving the burden on the electricity network.

Because the battery is on a ship, green power is now available everywhere from the water.

Skoon is the platform where the use of mobile batteries is optimised by bringing supply and demand together. The platform offers all kinds of services to make the partial concept of temporary clean energy supplies as accessible as possible.

Port of Amsterdam uses the mobile battery to absorb temporary peaks in the shore-based power network. These peaks occur mainly in April and May. More river cruise ships will be visiting Amsterdam for the opening of the Keukenhof. The available shore-based power supply is not always sufficient. As a result, the moored ships turn on their diesel generators. This causes noise nuisance and extra emissions.

The battery supplies green power at peak times like these and does not cause any noise nuisance. The battery uses sustainable energy sources from the port such as Wind Farm Ruigoord, solar panels and energy from biomass from AEB. In this way it contributes to the ambition of Port of Amsterdam for a zero emission port.

Robin Schipper, innovation manager at Port of Amsterdam: "With this project we can absorb the peaks in the use of shore power for river cruise ships. With the current power connection we can now supply eight ships with shore power at one location, while power is required for ten ships. There are several times in a day when ships temporarily require more power. By switching on the battery at those moments, we create an extra buffer in the available capacity of the grid manager. Together with Skoon and Zoev City, we will also use the battery for the inner city of Amsterdam".

Daan Geldermans, co-founder of Skoon: "The possibilities of using mobile batteries are endless. For example, if there is work on the quays and bridges in Amsterdam, they can replace polluting diesel generators. Zoev City's electrically powered ship takes care of the transport of the battery. In this way we reduce pressure on the congested road network in Amsterdam and do not take up parking spaces. In addition, the battery substantially reduces noise pollution and emissions in the city. The floating battery is faster, smarter and cleaner!

Over the next six months, the floating battery will be used for a fortnight in the port, followed by two weeks of work in the city. Construction sites, events and film sets often need temporary power supplies. Traditionally, diesel generators are then used. With a growing network of mobile batteries and available grid connections, the step to an emission-free solution is a lot easier. Zoev City can deliver the battery to the city's capillaries via the canals.

There will also be a demonstration container on the Ruijterkade, near the harbour building. The joint task of the port and the city in the energy transition will be made tangible here on the basis of this project.

More about Project Clean Amsterdam

First degassing tests for barges underway in Port of Amsterdam

A trial involving innovative vapour recovery systems was launched in the port of Amsterdam today. The aim is to enable barges to recover vapours safely and in a controlled manner to prevent them from being released into the air. This marks a significant step towards clean shipping.

Ontgassingstest
Early this morning during preparations for the trial at the Groene Kade in the port of Amsterdam (photographer: Ko van Leeuwen)

Testing by two companies

The North Sea Canal Area Environment Agency has given two providers, Triple D and 24/7 Nature Power, the green light to test their vapour recovery systems at the ‘Groene Kade’ (‘Green Quay’) in the port of Amsterdam in the week of 21 September. Both companies use a vapour recovery plant based on the mobile condensation principle (24/7 Nature Power) and for the combustion of the vapours (Triple D).

Port of Amsterdam has been working for many years on creating the conditions for safe degassing in the port. It is providing access to the public ‘Groene Kade’ for the tests as part of its efforts to make the port sustainable.

The Environment Agency, too, has been working on preventing illegal degassing for some time. Sensory systems known as ‘eNoses’ are being used as watchdogs to prevent illegal degassing, for example. This test represents an important next step.

Permit if successful

The tests involve establishing how the equipment is performing in terms of reducing the emissions of benzene and residual vapours containing benzene.

This determines whether the plant in question is meeting the set requirements. If the trials are successful, the providers will be able to apply to the North Sea Canal Area Environment Agency for a permit.

Independent measurements

The North Sea Canal Area Environment Agency has commissioned an independent agency to conduct the test measurements that can be used to establish whether the plants meet the strictest requirements or require further improvement.  

Prohibition on degassing during passage

Air quality is adversely affected by vessels degassing during passage in the inland navigation routes. This affects the health of local residents and the people working with these substances. On 1 March 2017 the Province of Noord-Holland banned the practice of degassing benzene and substances containing benzene as a measure to improve the environment and clean up inland navigation.

The industry has already succeeded in achieving a significant reduction in emissions in recent years, but this has not yet led to degassing being entirely ruled out. For that reason, the prohibitions are being extended in phases during 2020 into a national ban that will reduce the emission of these harmful substances by 98%.

National Taskforce on Degassing During Passage 

The results of the trials are being evaluated in the ‘Taskforce on Degassing During Passage.’ Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, set up this taskforce in 2018 to ensure the smooth introduction of the national ban.

The taskforce includes representatives of the central government, provincial authorities, ports, shipping companies, carriers, warehousing companies and vapour recovery providers.

In introducing the national ban, it is important that an infrastructure is put in place that features plants that are able to process or recycle the residual cargo vapours.

Building a wind farm: power for everyone

The Amsterdam/IJmuiden region and Port of Amsterdam are fully committed to (offshore) wind power. To facilitate the construction of wind farms, we are manufacturing and shipping various parts via the North Sea Canal Area.

In a series of four interviews, we share everything about our views on building wind farms on the water. The first to speak: Joris Hol, project leader at Wind Farm Fryslân.

It will supply roughly 500,000 households with power: Wind Farm Fryslân. While energy expert Ventolines and Bouwconsortium Zuiderzeewind are working hard on the construction, the port of Amsterdam supports the logistics processes.

Blades, towers, hubs: via the capital city’s port, all turbine parts make their way to the construction location at Breezanddijk in the IJsselmeer. And of course, so do the other components, such as Davit cranes and power cables. The Amsterdam region thus plays an important role in all this.

The world’s largest wind farm to be built in an inland waterway

Joris Hol knows, better than anybody, just how much is involved in building a wind farm. As a project leader at Ventolines, he has worked on similar projects many times. This time, he’s taking it one step further: coordinating the largest wind farm to be built in an inland waterway. He has been working on it for more than three years.

‘A very challenging period’, he says. ‘It is not just the construction project that is sizable, but so are all the other extra tasks involved. For example, the works on the ground, like laying kilometres of power cables along the Afsluitdijk. Or building the transformer station along the A7 at Breezanddijk.’

Local, as much as possible

Ventolines decided early on in the process to work with local suppliers and partners as much as possible. ‘This was also one of the demands from the shareholders’, explains Joris. ‘The province of Fryslân, for example, wanted this. They preferred a socially responsible approach, in which the expenses would trickle back to the residents of Friesland, as much as possible. For instance, in the way of employment opportunities.

We therefore had a Frisian company manufacture the internal platforms with cabling, for example. It required considerable time and energy. Bouwconsortium Zuiderzeewind rose to the challenge admirably. For instance, by conducting extra audits and safety inspections. At the same time, it was worthwhile to give the local companies an opportunity too. Not just the well-known parties that we always call on.’

Construction with respect for the surrounding environment

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is essential when it comes to this project. ‘It involves more than just local employment opportunities’, says Joris. ‘We want to be good neighbours to the people, animals and the surrounding environment. That is why we are building an island nature reserve so the bird populations in and around the IJsselmeer will have a foraging area.

Integration into the landscape was also high on our agenda. So, we did not opt for a square concrete box as the transformer house at Breezanddijk, but instead, a beautiful building with a unique architectural design, fitted with moving and reflective facade panels. The building seemingly moves with the water and wind around it.’

The transformer station will soon also be accessible to the public. There, visitors can obtain information about the station and wind farm’s operations.

‘This leaves everyone better off’

Amsterdam, relatively close to West Friesland...

While it is mostly Frisian companies who will help to build the wind farm, TMA Logistics, situated in the port of Amsterdam, turned out to be an excellent logistics partner.

Joris: ‘The Alaskahaven in Amsterdam is large and deep enough to receive and tranship the turbine components that come from countries like China, Portugal, Morocco, Vietnam and Denmark. Sometimes, they require partial disassembly or deconstruction. The port of Amsterdam/IJmuiden is a linchpin in our project, and, thanks to its accessibility to the IJsselmeer, a logical choice for Zuiderzeewind.’

According to Joris, it is not just the port that offers many possibilities. ‘The people do too. They are flexible and practical and see that offshore wind power is the future. That is precisely the energy that we need to get the turbines in Wind Farm Fryslân moving in 2021. Also, to facilitate the construction of large wind farms in the future, on the North Sea, for example.’

Operational in the summer of 2021

A great deal must still happen until then. ‘We are already making excellent progress with the installation of the power supply on the land. We are also working hard building the transformer station that will convert the energy from the wind turbines to electricity. For now, we are right on schedule.’

The ‘wet work’, as Joris calls it, will start in September. Like getting the foundation piles into the water. And then, at the beginning of next year, construction of the actual turbines will start.

‘We want to complete construction around the summer of next year. Then, roughly 500,000 households will have access to Frisian renewable electricity. Households that jointly reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 800,000 tonnes per year.’

Read more about the project on Wind Farm Fryslân’s website

Dutch Seaports win International Award for Sustainability

The Dutch seaports of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Terneuzen/Vlissingen, Moerdijk, and Groningen have jointly won the ‘World Ports Sustainability Award’.

They received the award for a joint project aimed at the application of OECD guidelines for seaports. These government guidelines concern corporate social responsibility in international business. The seaports examined how they could contribute to making occasionally risky cargo flows more sustainable.

The Seaports Trade Organisation (Brancheorganisatie Zeehavens, BOZ) has examined how seaports can influence — from their position in the supply chain — the process of making cargo flows sustainable. These cargo flows sometimes involve risks such as environmental damage, human rights violations or exploitation. Such risks are also referred to as International CSR risks: International Corporate Social Responsibility.

On the basis of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the BOZ has examined the role and responsibility of seaports as one of the many links in the supply chain. It has also examined how seaports can contribute to reducing the international CSR risks for cargo flows processed in or transiting through the ports. The seaports have used the results of this study to identify the international CSR risks and to list the arsenal of measures available to seaports. The project exemplifies how the port community can make a positive contribution to making cargo flows more sustainable.

The study was part of the Work Programme Seaports in which the BOZ, consisting of Port of Rotterdam, Port of Amsterdam, North Sea Port, Port of Moerdijk, and Groningen Seaports, worked together with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

Dutch Seaports honoured by Award

Koen Overtoom, CEO of Port of Amsterdam, responded with great pleasure on behalf of the Dutch seaports: “The Sustainability Award represents an important recognition of the efforts of the Dutch seaports by the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH). This award therefore constitutes a significant honour for us. The project has strengthened the cooperation between the seaports in the area of sustainability. This cooperation will strengthen us permanently in our shared ambitions to achieve progress in making a number of international supply chains more sustainable. We will also continue talks with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Social and Economic Council on the topic of International CSR and the further elaboration of this theme.”

Programme background

The International Association for Ports and Harbours (IAPH), the alliance for the global port community, launched the World Ports Sustainability Program in 2018. The ports collaborate internationally within the IAPH by exchanging knowledge and experience concerning sustainable development in the international port community. Since 2018, the World Ports Sustainability Awards have been awarded annually for best practices. The Dutch seaports received the Award in the category of Governance and Ethics. The Awards are presented annually during the annual IAPH World Ports Conference. This conference was slated to take place in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2020, but has been cancelled due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The awards are now presented digitally to the winners, including the Dutch seaports.

Nouryon, Tata Steel, and Port of Amsterdam partner to develop the largest green hydrogen cluster in Europe

Nouryon, Tata Steel and Port of Amsterdam have joined together to study the feasibility of a large green hydrogen cluster in the Amsterdam region. The three parties consider green hydrogen as vital for reaching climate targets and building a more circular economy.

For example by combining it with emissions from steel manufacture to make new products.

As a first step, the parties will study the feasibility of a 100 megawatt water electrolysis facility to produce up to 15,000 tons of hydrogen per year as well as oxygen at Tata Steel’s IJmuiden site, near Amsterdam. By using renewable electricity, the initial unit will enable a carbon saving of up to 350,000 tons of CO2 per year, equivalent to the emissions of more than 40,000 households.

A final investment decision is expected in 2021. The partner companies have the ambition to further scale up the technology.

Nouryon will operate the facility, while Tata Steel will use the oxygen to further enhance the sustainability of its production processes. The parties will jointly explore different routes to use hydrogen for turning steel mill emissions into useful chemicals and products.

Port of Amsterdam will focus on the infrastructure for further distribution of green hydrogen, which will be the basis for the development of new industries and zero-emission transport in the Amsterdam area.

“This partnership builds on our existing initiatives to support the development of a sustainable chemical industry,” said Knut Schwalenberg, Managing Director Industrial Chemicals at Nouryon.

“Green hydrogen is a realistic alternative for fossil-based raw materials and enables new forms of green chemistry, such as using steel mill gas, CO2, or waste to make plastics and move to new, circular value chains,” he said.

“Tata Steel is a strong supporter of hydrogen as a facilitator of the energy transition,” said Hans Fischer, CEO of Tata Steel Europe. “This project could be a stepping stone to make large quantities of affordable hydrogen available in the future to enable us to become a CO2 neutral steel producer.”

Koen Overtoom, CEO Port of Amsterdam, added: “Large-scale production of green hydrogen, fuelled by offshore wind, will enable the Amsterdam-North Sea canal region to make a leap forward towards a climate neutral circular industry. It will support our ambition towards synthetic fuels and synthetic kerosene and emission-free mobility.”

The recently presented Dutch Climate Law sets an ambitious CO2 reduction target of 49% by 2030 compared to 1990. The parties believe that green hydrogen can make a significant contribution towards this target and aim to reach sufficient scale to absorb all emissions from Tata Steel’s plant in IJmuiden and use it for the production of new materials.

The development of the green hydrogen cluster will also enable emissions-free buses and heavy transport in the entire Amsterdam area.

First hydrogen station at the Port of Amsterdam

Press release
03-12-2019

Holthausen Energy Points (HEP) is to build the first hydrogen station at the Port of Amsterdam. Truck drivers and motorists will be able to refuel at the station 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Work on the construction of the hydrogen station on Australiëhavenweg at the Port of Amsterdam will start in spring 2021.

To promote sustainable production of hydrogen at the station, the municipality of Amsterdam has issued a one-off grant of € 0.5 million. The municipality is also planning to install hydrogen fuel cell engines in its refuse vehicles. The first six of these refuse vehicles will be on the streets in 2021.

Marieke van Doorninck, Amsterdam Alderwoman for Air Quality and Sustainability: “Hydrogen-powered vehicles do not emit air pollutants such as nitrogen and particulate matter and contribute to clean air. And what’s more, hydrogen produced with green power is also climate neutral. So the hydrogen station will help the city and the port achieve their sustainability targets. We want the municipal fleet to be emission free by 2030. Hydrogen is the perfect solution for our heavy-duty vehicles.”

Stefan Holthausen of Holthausen Energy Points: “There are clear advantages to using hydrogen as a fuel source. Heavy-duty vehicles are emission free and have a greater radius of action. They also weigh less and can refuel at filling stations.”

The hydrogen station will also refill hydrogen cylinders. This will enable local businesses to quickly and easily obtain hydrogen for their (construction) generators, and hoisting and lifting equipment such as forklifts.

Port of Amsterdam sees hydrogen as having an important role to play as an energy carrier that will support the achievement of climate targets. The availability of hydrogen will enable companies in the port area of Amsterdam to improve the sustainability of their logistics and transport systems. It will also allow them to use hydrogen as a component in the production of chemicals and fuels, such as synthetic kerosene for aviation.

Together with specialty chemicals company Nouryon and Tata Steel, the Port of Amsterdam is participating in H2ermes, a project that will enable large-scale production of green hydrogen with North Sea wind power. The port is also building a new vessel that will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

The municipality of Amsterdam is a partner in REVIVE (REfuse Vehicle Innovation and Validation in Europe). One of the objectives of this European project is to demonstrate that trucks with a fuel cell range extender are an effective emission-free alternative to conventional heavy-duty vehicles. The project has received funding from the EU’s Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (FCH JU).

Holthausen Energy Points received a grant for the construction of the hydrogen station under the DKTI-Transport scheme, which invites companies to demonstrate innovation in climate technologies and transport. The scheme supports the development of low or zero-emission transport solutions, electric vehicles and vessels, efficient ships, hydrogen as a fuel source, and the use of biofuels in aviation, shipping and heavy-duty road transport.

Train gains ground in goods transport

Parties involved in the transport of goods by rail have reached agreement with State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven on a package of measures designed to make goods transport by rail more sustainable and more attractive.

Package of measures on rail goods transport agreed

The measures include a large reduction in the user fee, deployment in relation to the European rail safety system ERTMS and improving environmental conditions for those living near the railway. The package will enable a modal shift and is thus in line with the climate targets and the coalition agreement.

The package is established in consultation with the Rail Goods Consultation, in which shipping companies, rail operators, terminals, ports, rail infrastructure companies, ProRail and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management discuss the future of transport by rail. State Secretary van Veldhoven: “The economy is doing well, and the transport of goods is therefore also increasing. In this consultation we ensure that these goods flows are carried by rail as far as possible. This eases pressure on our roads and is also good for the environment. Today we have made significant progress by establishing our common goals for the near future in a single package.”

The broad package of measures includes financial and technical solutions for goods transport by rail. Some examples:

  • Until year-end 2023, a subsidy of € 12 to 14 million will be provided annually so that the net user fee can be substantially reduced and brought to a level similar to that in Germany (Measure will be evaluated in 2021).
  • Changes enabling longer trains of up to 740 metres in length will be reviewed.
  • For the introduction of the new safety system ERTMS, the Cabinet will strive to use national and European funds and design the complex transition to ERTMS so as to enable healthy growth in goods transport by rail.
  • There will be cooperation to make the transport of goods by rail more efficient in port regions, use quieter equipment and hybrid locomotives and investigate the potential for low-vibration carriages.

With these and other measures, the members of the Rail Goods Consultation hope to increase the volume of goods transport by rail per track from 42 million tonnes (2016) to 54-61 million tonnes by 2030. Chair of the Rail Goods Consultation Steven Lak: “This package is the beginning of a new approach. It is thus very important that all parties involved in the railways continue to work together. I see huge enthusiasm among all parties and this package is a real boost to the transport of goods by rail.”

The package will be further developed together with the Rail Goods Consultation in the coming months. The House of Representatives was informed of the substance of the package by means of a letter this afternoon.