Traffic flows between the port of Antwerp and Central and Eastern Europe on the rise
Traffic flows between the Belgian port of Antwerp and the hinterland market in Hungary and Austria are increasing continuously, the company said in its press release. In order to meet the growing demand, the Antwerp Port Authority is promoting the expansion of hinterland connections, especially by rail. Two regular rail connections to Hungary have been established since 2015 and rail services to Austria have been expanded from one to currently three. At a port event held near Vienna on 27 September, leading representatives of the Antwerp port industry provided information on the further development of these transports with Austria and Hungary. 200 guests from both countries followed the invitation of the Antwerp Port Authority.
Hungary and Austria are an attractive but highly competitive market for the northern, southern and western ports. Due to its central location, Antwerp offers good conditions for the pre- and post-carriage of international flows of goods and is already an important import and export hub for the Central and Eastern European industry - with increasing demand for intermodal connections in particular. On 11 September 2018, the intermodal network operator Hupac added a new scheduled service between Antwerp, Vienna and Budapest with two round trips per week to its network.
Further intermodal providers on these routes are Rail Cargo Logistics Austria in cooperation with Rail&Sea, Lineas Intermodal and Kombiverkehr, which offer regular connections to and from Linz, Vienna, Wels and Budapest and thus connect Austria and Hungary with important overseas destinations via Antwerp.
The transported goods include steel, machinery, cranes, railway wagons and wind generators, chemical and petrochemical products, containers and goods from the automotive industry. Hungary in particular has developed into an important automotive location with all upstream and downstream logistics services. Well-known manufacturers have production facilities here.
The Austrian economy has already recognized this potential: in 2017 the total transshipment for Austria alone amounted to around 3.5 million tons, which corresponds to a growth of over 14 per cent compared to the same period last year. 15 percent of all Austrian seaport transit traffic passes through the port of Antwerp, which thus ranks fourth behind Koper, Rotterdam and Hamburg in the Austrian seaport balance. Exports increased by around 17 percent in 2017, Austrian imports via Antwerp by 12 percent.
The Port of Antwerp is increasingly focusing on rail transport, but is also well connected by waterway. Important European inland terminals such as Duisburg, Ludwigshafen, Regensburg and Basel can be reached by inland waterway vessel. The Austrian inland ports of Linz, Enns, Krems and Vienna can be reached via the Danube.
The Antwerp Port Authority is not only focusing on a sustainable shift of traffic to rail and inland waterways in the hinterland, but also on traffic within the port. The railways' share, for example, is to be doubled from the current seven percent to 15 percent in the next five years. The project is being implemented by Railport, a joint initiative of the Antwerp Port Authority, the Left Bank Development Corporation and the industry associations essenscia Flandern and Voka Alfaport. To this end, constructive talks are currently being held with the Belgian railway infrastructure company Infrabel to develop a new management model for the rail infrastructure in the port and thus make rail transport more flexible and efficient.