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12 Июля 2017

RLL Container Report - 12 July 2017

From: John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd. Email: john.keir@telia.com Date: 12 July 2017

HHLA and Metrans open up new prospects on the banks of the Danube

It seems like only yesterday that I took the tram from Budapest city centre to Csepel to visit the site of the proposed Metrans container terminal on the banks of the River Danube. Back in September of last year when I visited the site, the first crane was being erected but none of the rail lines had been installed nor had any concrete been laid. Now, less than a year later, the 165,000 square metre rail container terminal can boast six tracks, each 650 metres in length plus two 500 metre tracks in the empty container stacking area. The new Metrans Hungarian terminal has a capacity of quarter of a million teu per annum, the equivalent of 250 train moves per month. The terminal is equipped with two portal cranes, two reachstackers as well as two other stackers that cater for empty containers. There is a Customs post on site, reefer plugs for the storage of perishable cargoes plus a container repair facility. In addition to road and rail traffic, there is a provision to add a terminal to cater for traffic on the Danube River.

Budapest is Metrans’ fourth intermodal terminal, which liaises with those operated by the sister company, Polzug. More importantly, Budapest is the most southerly located terminal in the HHLA group, which will extend the intermodal reach of the Port of Hamburg down into the old Hapsburg lands. Hungary borders on no less than seven other countries, namely Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. All these countries are only a short train or truck ride from the Metrans terminal in the Hungarian capital. At the same time, the neighbouring countries of the former-Yugoslavia plus Romania are all expanding their intermodal facilities at a fast pace. To the East of Budapest facilities lies Ukraine, which offers direct access to the broad gauge rail network, stretching as far as Central Asia and China. Clearly, our Hanseatic friends and their Czech colleagues have chosen a very convenient spot for their latest intermodal investment.

Coinciding with the inauguration of the Metrans terminal a block train arrived in the Hungarian capital from China carrying 41 x 40’ HCs containers transporting a wide range of goods including apparel and electronics. The block train had been organised by Transcontainer and had departed from China on the 27th of May. It took 13 days to cross through Mongolia, Russia and Ukraine on the broad-gauge network before arriving at the crossing point at Dobre in Slovakia. Transcontainer declared themselves satisfied with the test train and plan to set up a regular service to Budapest with 3-4 departures per month.

Both the Port of Hamburg and RZD, Russian Railways, fully appreciate the strategic role which Budapest will play in supplying intermodal transport services to South East Europe, a region which is currently undergoing a period of rapid improvement in road and rail financed primarily by the European Union. In addition to the recent and candidate members of the EU in the former Yugoslav republics, Budapest will provide intermodal services to Turkey and Iran, both of which share the standard gauge rail network. Coincidentally at 80 million, each of those countries has a population equal to that of Germany, the most populous state in the European Union.

John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd.
12 July 2017

Copyright ©, 2017, John Keir

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