Chiasso, 26.1.2010 – The Swiss combined freight operator Hupac is opening a new transhipment terminal in Antwerp harbour. The facility has the capacity to handle 12 train pairs each day and helps to further shift freight traffic from road to rail. The construction was completed on time despite the economic crisis.
The HTA Hupac Terminal Antwerp is very close to the area of Antwerp harbour previously used by Hupac. The facility consists of a check-in area and a transhipment module with five craneable tracks as well as a number of traffic and parking lanes. Twelve 620 metre-long trains can be handled each day, which corresponds to a loading capacity of 600 road consignments per day. In the initial phase, the HTA will handle five train pairs per day to Basel/Aarau and Busto Arsizio. The facility is owned by Belgian company Hupac Intermodal BVBA. The investment cost € 22 million and was partly financed by the Swiss Federation.
The terminal is an important prerequisite for the further development of combined transport, emphasised Hans-Jörg Bertschi, chairman of the board of Hupac, at the opening ceremony on 26th January in Antwerp, which was also attended by the transport minister for Flanders, Hilde Crevits. “Green logistics is a reality, despite the economic crisis,” said Bertschi. “Companies that want to switch to environmentally friendly combined transport can now count on sufficient capacity and proven quality in the Antwerp area.”
The new terminal is a central hub in Hupac’s Europe-wide network. It serves both marine transport and continental transport for industries based in the harbour area. The facility is open to all rail operators and thus makes a significant contribution towards opening up the rail transport market. Competition creates dynamics within the world of rail and ensures attractive offers, thus convincing the transport sector of the strengths of combined transport, according to Bertschi. “We have a dream: to get long-distance transport in Europe onto the rails thanks to open rail markets by the year 2020. The HTA Hupac Terminal Antwerp is a strategic resource for the implementation of our Vision 2020.”
Traffic Development in 2009
In the crisis year of 2009, Hupac recorded a two-figure drop in traffic for the first time in its over forty-year history. The volume of road consignments transported fell by 13.5% to 607,284 road consignments. After around a 25% fall in traffic in the first quarter, the trend stabilised over the course of the year. In the last few months of the year, the figures even rose slightly. “Overall, we fell back to 2006 volumes”, explained Bertschi. Nevertheless, Hupac should be satisfied with the achieved result “In comparison with other modes of transport, we have got off lightly.”
Crisis and Opportunities
Hupac has quickly become at home with the new market situation. The frequency of trains was adjusted to meet the lower demand, although without harming the performance of the transport network. Additional crisis measures included flexible resource planning with the railways, postponing lower priority investments, short-time working in the terminals and implementing an economy programme together with the rail companies and the Swiss Federal Office of Transport. “Hupac is standing on a solid footing”, emphasised Hans-Jörg Bertschi, chairman of the board at the terminal opening in Antwerp. “We are looking ahead and investing in the future of combined transport.” In the last year, more than CHF 60 million flowed into new rolling stock and terminal infrastructure. Investments of around CHF 30 million are also planned for 2010.
Despite the crisis, Hupac has continued to extend its transport network. A range of new connections between Antwerp and Spain/Portugal were incorporated into the offering in April 2009. Poland traffic was expanded at the end of July with a new link between Schwarzheide (Dresden) and Katy Wroclawskie (Wroclaw). Romania is also a new addition to the Shuttle Net: August saw the start of a link with four weekly departures between Budapest and Curtici near Arad, which is soon to be extended into the Ploiesti industrial region. New products will also be added to the North-South axis in the coming months, such as the Cologne <=> Novara link via Lötschberg for 4 metre containers and the Antwerp <=> Verona and Rotterdam <=> Verona connections. Another innovation for Hupac is the Busto <=> Barcelona link planned for April 2010.
Hupac only anticipates a certain improvement in the economic situation in 2010. The volume of traffic will remain below pre-crisis levels. “We will use the flood to ensure that the boat is fit for future challenges,” stressed Kunz. “We are rewriting our processes and improving the efficiency of our services.” New concepts are also planned for the management of the rolling stock fleet.
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|Rolling Highway || |
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