Executive Intelligence Review

FROM EIR DAILY ALERT


Hungary Wants To Become Hub for Rail Freight from Russia and China

Nov. 8, 2018 (EIRNS)—The following is part of an article by Majorie van Leijen which appears in full on the website RailFreight.com.

While Slovakia is gaining momentum on the New Silk Road, Hungary still has work to do before it can reap the benefits of its geographic location. The relevant infrastructure is limited to the area of greater Budapest, and the facilities are not up to date. Yet, Hungary is to be connected on two international lines that will reshuffle the cards, explained Gyuri Firbás, a logistics consultant to the government.

“We will be connected through the Budapest-Belgrade line, which will form an extension to the Greek ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, and to eastern Poland, where we will connect to the traditional route through Belarus and Russia. We are focussing on the flow of traffic moving from the southeast to the northwest, and from the southwest to the north-east.”

The Budapest-Belgrade rail line is a 336-kilometer rail line connecting the Hungarian and Serbian capital. It is to serve traffic flowing through the port of Piraeus, which was recently acquired by the Chinese company COSCO. The Chinese government plans to boost the port as a maritime gateway into Europe. Although many have seen the railway line as a solely Chinese project, Firbás stressed the benefits to Hungary.

“We will not only be connected to the Greek ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki. Once Montenegro has joined the EU, the port of Bar will be added to the network of European ports accessible to Hungary. The Bar-Belgrade railway connection is already there. Thus, as a landlocked country, we will be connected to the port of Koper (Slovenia), Bar, and the Greek ports.”

A new railway line between Budapest and Malaszewicze in eastern Poland is to enable the Hungarians to tap into the growing traffic flow between China and Poland, Firbás explained.

“Right now, when traffic enters Europe at the Malaszewicze-Brest [Belarus] border, it is mostly forwarded to Germany or the Netherlands. With a railway connection via Kosice in Slovakia, we want to form a transit line to the Southern European countries such as Slovenia, Croatia and Northern Italy.”

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