Half a million m2 of new rail transhipment space to be built in Hungary

Posted by Bíró Koppány Ajtony

Four new intermodal terminals are being built in Hungary, factory investments and transit corridors attract new trans-shippers

One after the other, new intermodal railway terminals are to be opened in Hungary in the following years to serve the industrial plants under construction and to meet the growing demand for redirecting road transport to railways – was announced during the East-European Intermodal Conference in Budapest. Meanwhile, the already functioning terminals are being extended or are going to be modernised. The transshipment area may increase by half a million m2 on the whole – according to the data of the Association of Hungarian Logistic Service Centres (MLSZKSZ). There is a growing demand for railway transport, partly as a result of the greening expectations, but also on account of the growing lack of truck drivers throughout Europe, and also due to the  ever increasing road environmental charges.


The opening of the East-West Gate in Fényeslitke last year was the first step in increasing the number of rail terminals – their number is going to grow in the following years: next year two, and later two more intermodal railway terminals are going to be opened for traffic in Hungary, moreover discussions are under way about the building of further terminals as well.

Railway transport is environmentally friendly; therefore, the European Union intends to give it a much bigger role than is has today. This will be done partly by the support of railway developments, and on the other hand it has already been announced that much higher environmental charges are going to be imposed on road transport. Furthermore, truck transport is further hit by the lack of hundreds of thousands of drivers in Europe, which causes an even more serious capacity problem.

„Intermodal transport could cut emissions by two-thirds for long-distance transports, if the trucks or trailers are transferred to rail or water. If Hungary wants to meet the climate targets committed, then 50-100 thousand trucks should be diverted from road to intermodal transport per year, which makes the construction of new terminals vitally important” – emphasized Zsolt Fülöp, the President of MLSZKSZ.


The new terminals are built near transit routes and industrial investments

Zalaegerszeg Terminal and Szeged Terminal are planned to be opened in 2025–26, both are built by METRANS. The former will be constructed at the junction of the planned route of the M76 motorway with the main railway line on an area of 150,000 m2 to serve the container traffic towards and from the Adriatic Sea. The latter is planned to be built on the premises of the Industrial and Logistic Centre of Szeged on an area of 100,000 m2; the railway traffic from the Balkans would be diverted to railway, but it will also serve regional traffic.

Early next year on the site of the former transhipment yard in Kiskundorozsma the PSP Terminal will start operating. Here the road transport from the Southern Great Plane region, from Serbia, North-West Romania and Bulgaria will be diverted to railway and in this way the westbound truck traffic will be reduced. Craneable and non-craneable semi-trailers and containers will be loaded on railway on an area of 48,000 m2.  According to calcuations, first one-two train pairs, and after 6 months three-four train pairs will be used per week. The terminal was built with a private investment of half a billion HUF by Petrolsped Transport Ltd.

Another opening in 2024 will be that of Debrecen Terminal next to the BMW factory (under construction), which will be operated by GYSEV CARGO. More trains per week are expected to arrive from the third quarter of next year. Gantry cranes and reachstackers load containers or trailers on an area of 110,000 m2. The terminal will be used mostly by car production companies and their suppliers, therefore ready-made cars, energy modules and car spare parts are envisaged to be transported. The production cost of the additional equipment necessary for the operation of the terminal is HUF 17.2 billion.

As MLSZKSZ is informed there are ongoing discussions about the construction of further terminals in addition to the four investments which have been already announced, in line with the expected increase in industrial investment.



Extending capacity at existing terminals

East-West Gate opened in Fényeslitke last year on an area of 850,000 m2 is Europe’s biggest land-based intermodal terminal. It can transload containers from wide to standard gauge, as well as from railway carriages onto trucks, and is also suitable for loading full trucks and conventional road semi-trailers onto rail. The terminal was planned to serve the container traffic between Asia and Europe and to divert the regional truck traffic, however, as a consequence of the war that meanwhile broke out in Ukraine, at present the greatest demand in the region is for bulk transhipment. Therefore the owner, East-West Intermodal Logistics Zrt bought transfer equipment  earlier this year and also has set up a covered area for the transfer of bulk goods.

Rail Cargo Terminal – BILK Zrt. in Csepel operate daily services to and from Greece, the Adriatic Sea, as well as Austria and Germany. In an area of 220 thousand m2 they handle dry containers and containers loaded with refrigerated and dangerous goods, as well as craneable semi-trailers and swap bodies. They are planning to purchase two 45-ton telescopic container loading machines for about HUF 250 million, and they are also working on investments in order to make the building and the site more energy efficient.

Also, in Csepel operates METRANS BUCS Terminal, which is capable of transloading container goods transported by road. It is equipped with six 650-metre and two 500-metre loading tracks, four frame gantry cranes, ten mobile cranes and three reachstackers. The terminal also has a container repair service station, a container freight station and a customs office operating day and night (24/7). The terminal of 143,500 m2 has connection to all the major European ports. During its modernisation, the fourth gantry crane has been installed and the solar panel park consisting of 430 units with a yearly capacity of 185 MWh was put into operation late October, which saves the environment from  87,875 tons of carbon dioxide (Co2) emission.

MAHART Container Center Terminal serves rail, road and water transport in an area of 110,000 m2. In addition to containers, they can also load craneable and non-craneable semi-trailers.

The terminal is planned to be further developed with HUF 5.8 billion by the first half of 2025: an additional area of about 20,000 m2 will be built, around 15,000 m2 are will be modernised, another gantry crane will be acquired, furthermore new  railway tracks will be built and modernised. The terminal also has a smaller loading capacity of 30,000 containers per year at Budapest Airport, where a rail connection is planned.

The terminals of ZÁHONY-PORT Zrt. has capacity primarily for the transhipment and storage of bulk goods, ores and agricultural products, as well as for the transfer of chemicals between wide- and standard-gauge trains; whereas in the crane transit station of Eperjeske as many as 150 containers can be transloaded daily. ZÁHONY-PORT Zrt., owned by MÁV, plans to carry out developments in the next four years, both by public funding and from the resources of CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) with an aim to improve the loading and storage capacity for bulk goods, products and ores, as well as the loading and storage capacity of containers, the technology of chemical transfer, furthermore new weighing and axle load measurement facilities will be developed at the sites.

Sopron Terminal receives and departs trains via Austria and West-Europe as well as towards East-Europe and the Mediterranean. Here containers and trailers can be loaded on an area of 40,500 m2. The technology was twice modernised by GYSEV Cargo in the 2010s in two stages, but further developments and extensions are envisaged in order to be able to receive trains of 740m length.

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