New Container Hub in Budapest

/ Focus

New Container Hub in Budapest

Budapest is in the heart of Europe. This is where important rail connections between the hinterland and North Sea and Baltic Sea ports as well as the Mediterranean intersect and where arterial roads crossing Europe from west to east and from north to south meet. The HHLA rail subsidiary Metrans recently inaugurated its fourth hub terminal in Budapest.

The network of HHLA rail subsidiaries has grown, and now stretches from the North and Baltic Seas down to the Adriatic and from Duisburg in Germany to Poznan in Poland and Dunajska Streda in Slovakia. The network now comprises 13 company-owned inland terminals, five of which serve as hubs for direct shuttle train connections to and from the ports. The newest facility was recently inaugurated in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.

At the opening ceremony, the Chairwoman of HHLA’s Executive Board Angela Titzrath said Budapest was a “strategic hub and the ideal point of intersection for Europe’s most important transport corridors”. 

Rail is the most important mode of transport for Hungary’s imports and exports. More than 90 percent of the goods transported in containers between the Port of Hamburg and Hungary in 2016 went by rail. The new terminal in Budapest therefore has plenty to do. The terminal’s 176 employees are currently handling 14 pairs of trains a week. The terminal in Budapest is also kept busy due to its good connections to the Adriatic ports of Koper and Trieste. The container trains are processed by two gantry cranes on six 650-metre-long platforms. The terminal has the capacity to handle close to 250,000 standard containers (TEU) a year, equating to approximately 250 trains a month.

Like the Metrans terminals in Prague, Ceska Trebova and Dunajska Streda and the Polzug terminal in Poznan, the Budapest facility is a hub and shuttle terminal. Its primary advantage is that the shuttle trains handled here can travel back and forth between seaport and hinterland very frequently. Other trains then transport the cargo between the hub terminals and smaller inland terminals. Only the last leg of a journey is then usually handled by truck.

Hamburg leads the way in terms of European ports with good rail connections - nowhere else boasts quite as many hinterland connections. The Port of Hamburg offers more than 2.000 train connections for containers weekly. For example there are more than 40 weekly shuttle trains of HHLA's subsidiary Metrans back and forth only between Hamburg and Prague. The Port of Hamburg therefore also benefits from the strength of the HHLA rail subsidiaries, which transported a total of almost 1.1 million TEU in 2016. Their high-frequency and environmentally friendly rail connections attract cargo to Hamburg.

To further strengthen its leading position in seaport-hinterland traffic, HHLA has decided to integrate the activities of its rail subsidiary Polzug into the Metrans organisation by the beginning of 2018. The management of Metrans is preparing this transition. In this manner, HHLA will be applying the successful Metrans business model to the Polish market and thus taking part in possibilities for growth in Poland. In addition, the customers will benefit from simplified structures and processes.


Article Photos & Video
Loading of Hungarian export containers on a shuttle train. Opening ceremony of the Budapest terminal: Peter Kiss, CEO of Metrans Danubia (from left to right), and HHLA-CEO Angela Titzrath with Hungarian local politicians. 90% of the containers moved between Hamburg and Hungary are transported by rail. In the cockpit of a transtainer crane: 14 train pairs are presently handled per week by 176 employees. A reachstacker loading a container on a truck for the last mile transport. The principle of hub-and-shuttle: the hub-terminal (middle) is connected to the seaport by high-frequent shuttle trains and forms a tight train network in the hinterland with smaller terminals.