The volume of “train truck” transportation increased last year, but not enough

Last year, in the field of domestic transport, the so-called intermodal (rail freight) freight traffic, but in order for Hungary to meet the climate targets set for the European Union, 50-100 thousand truck traffic per year would have to be diverted from road to intermodal transport, according to the Hungarian Association of Logistics Service Centers (MLSZKSZ).

According to the above analysis, the pandemic significantly rearranged the freight map last year: while the volume of water transport and the tonne-kilometer performance of rail transport increased, road freight traffic fell for all indicators. Road hauliers need to find new solutions to remain competitive, which can be addressed through the development of intermodal transport, including the construction of new Hungarian combined terminals, the implementation of the V0 railway ring road and the development of an intermodal traffic incentive system.

The development of the Hungarian merchandise market in 2020 was mainly influenced by the effects of the coronavirus epidemic – factory shutdowns, border closures, and sometimes hectic, up to 15-fold increase in orders – as well as driver shortages, restrictions on the European Union Mobility Package had a significant impact on the performance of the sector. At the same time, radical changes began in the European transport market last year, therefore, according to the FGM, the development of cooperation between the road, rail and water transport sectors must be accelerated and raised to a higher level.

The volume of freight transport in Hungary (285 million tons) increased by 8.5 percent, while the capacity (52 billion tonne-kilometers) It was down 11.3 percent from 2019 last year. Within this, the volume of domestic traffic decreased by 7.7 percent, its performance by 6 percent, while the volume of international traffic decreased by 9.9 percent and 13.6 percent, respectively.

Inland freight – strong growth from a low 2018 base

There was a decline for almost all modes of transport. The volume of water transport increased by 2.5 percent, and the tonne-kilometer performance of rail transport was 4.9 percent more than in the previous year. All this means that some of the traffic has shifted from road to water, and the number of long-distance rail transport has increased.

Domestic inland freight traffic was able to grow in 2020 after the sharp decline in 2018 (-18 percent) and then the large increase in 2019 (24 percent) – also thanks to the pandemic. The turnover of the three large ports – Baja, Csepel and Győr-Gyönyű – increased on average by 32 percent, while the other ports increased by only around 5 percent. The small ports brought the level of traffic of previous years. In 2020, 3,130 containers were transported by water, an 8 percent increase over 2019. This traffic was handled by the Mahart Container Center.

Sea container traffic affecting Hungary

In Hungary, for the first time in 2020, a semi-annual survey of container traffic organized by shipping companies was conducted. The main direction of import / export container traffic to Hungary is the southern ports (Koper, Trieste, Rijeka). From the south, six times as many container goods arrive in Hungary as from the north, while in the case of export container traffic, the predominance of southbound transports tripled in the first half of the year and only 1.7 times in the second half.

This shows that the strong Hungarian manufacturing industry requires foreign raw materials, mostly from the Far East. The shipping companies ’stacked container turnover was 307,383 TEU (20-foot container) units in 2020. Finished products mostly leave the country by road and to a lesser extent by rail. Last year, the movement of empty containers was remarkably large at 174,597 TEU. These were relocated to other European industrial centers, where they were loaded and thus returned to the shipping cycle. A small proportion of them, on the other hand, went empty-handed back to the Far East.

Road freight traffic – permanent market loss, major reorganization may come

It continued the decline in road freight traffic, the largest of all modes of transport, will continue in 2020: its volume will decrease by 7.2 per cent and its freight tonne-kilometer performance by 12.8 per cent compared to 2019. In international traffic, volume fell by 12.8 percent and performance by 17.8 percent. The main reason for this was the border closures caused by the pandemic and the lack of drivers in the international context, while the shutdown of factories in Hungary (1-2 months of automotive shutdown) contributed to the decrease.

Some of the international road traffic was shifted to rail and water (about 1.1 million tonnes of freight by rail and 0.4 million tonnes by water). At the same time the 45 percent increase in the performance of domestic parcel service providers last year is a record.



Rail freight – variable performance: international growth domestic decline

Volume of rail freight (50.5 million tonnes) a Decreased by 3.2 percent, however, freight tonne-kilometer performance (11.1 billion tonne-kilometers) increased by 4.9 per cent in 2020 compared to a year earlier. In domestic traffic, tonne-kilometer performance fell by 10.5 per cent due to the epidemic, while the volume transported fell by an even greater 19.4 per cent. Internationally, however, volume increased by 3 percent and performance by 7.9 percent compared to 2019.

Mainly in the case of long-distance transport, traffic shifted from road to rail, with a significant role played by the large number of vehicles stopped by each carrier. also (e.g. Waberer’s 1,500 cars). This is because rail transport is less sensitive to border closures, congestion and has a lower risk of infection. According to the data of the MLSZKSZ, the domestic intermodal traffic within the railway transport sector keeps its share above 20 percent stable.

Intermodal trade in goods – stable growth even during the epidemic

Hungarian intermodal traffic has been growing steadily in recent years, up from 1.7 percent last year. According to the data of the MLSZKSZ, 96 percent of the total domestic intermodal traffic arrived in the country in 2020 through three combined terminals in Central Hungary. Budapest terminals achieved an average traffic growth of 4 percent.

Due to the epidemic, the demand for intermodal transport has increased significantly, and the share of this mode of transport is expected to increase even more dynamically in the future. The European Union also favors intermodal transport. This is also necessary, because in order for Hungary to be able to meet the climate targets set for the European Union, 50-100 thousand truck traffic per year would have to be diverted from road to intermodal transport. This mode of transport also provides a solution to one of the major problems of international road transport, the growing shortage of drivers, because it requires minimal staff, even when transporting large quantities of goods. In addition, it is not affected by the problems of road transport – traffic jams, border crossings -, it is well organized, and goods loaded on railways can cover up to 1,200 km in 24 hours (5-7 days for water transport).

It can reduce costs: on the one hand, rail freight is becoming more competitive, and on the other hand, intermodal transport means direct cost reductions for road fleet operators. Instead of thirty drivers, a driver and fewer tractors are needed, and the need for tire wear, repairs, maintenance is reduced and trailers will need to be replaced later.

Encouraging steps in intermodal transport

The situation is encouraging as several important developments have been launched and government decisions have been made to help spread intermodal transport. The construction of the East-West Gate intermodal combined terminal in Fényeslitke is in progress, and the development of the combined terminal in Zalaegerszeg will soon begin with the investment of METRANS. The new combi terminals are already designed to be able to put road trailers, even non-crane trailers, on rail.

Another important step was that the government put on the agenda again the project of the V0 Budapest railway ring road, which was repeatedly advocated by the MLSZKSZ, and decided to develop a national railway freight survey and development concept.

The implementation of V0 will put rail freight into a supply position and encourage the spread of intermodal transport. The MLSZKSZ considers the government’s decision, which allows for the detailed elaboration of the concept and the development of the previously lagging railway freight infrastructure services, to be timely.


Source: Ingatlanhírek by ingatlanhirek.hu.

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