The number of container trains arriving in Hungary from China in the first quarter of the year was almost 10x higher than a year earlier, Kovács stated.
He explained that these shipments are expanding mainly on the land section of the Silk Road because global container problems continue to delay large ships traveling to Europe; also, rail is twice as fast plus can already offer comparable prices.
Of course, a train can only carry 40-50 containers, while a ship can transport 18,000-20,000.
All of the ports along the Silk Road in Europe are needed, including new developments such as Záhony, which is a good alternative to the Brest-Malaszewicze border-crossing and maritime transport.
A recent port expansion was Köseköy in Turkey, soon to be a turning point for European goods to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and China.
The Austrian Rail Cargo Group (RCG), which includes Rail Cargo Hungaria Zrt. (RCH), has recently agreed with Pasific Eurasia in Turkey to exploit the logistics of a new route through the Caspian Sea, the Caucasus, the Black Sea and Turkey. Pasific Eurasia will deliver container trains to Köseköy from the Asian industrial districts, which will then be transported to Europe by RCG.
The transit of increased quantities of Chinese and other goods from the Far East and Russia also requires development in Hungary. Rail and road must work together to transport containers, which in turn requires terminals with adequate capacity and quality of service. Tracks that allow for fast transit are also essential, as well as road developments that, for example, bypass the capital and connect with various strategic transshipment terminals.
Another important investment is the renovation of the Budapest-Belgrade (BB) railway line, while RCH also operates daily services on the southern railway corridor.
If the ongoing domestic infrastructure developments are completed, domestic rail freight will be in a very good position. We are also in a geographically favorable position, right in the middle of Europe, Kovács said.