RCO Terminal Budapest. Photo: RCO

First direct rail service Rotterdam-Budapest launched

The first direct shuttle train between the Port of Rotterdam and the Hungarian capital of Budapest was launched today, 4 October. The railway service departs twice a week in both directions.

With the new rail connection, which is operated by Rail Cargo Operator (RCO), containers from the Port of Rotterdam reach the east-European hub within thirty hours. It does not stop at any other city than the destination, giving customers a major time advantage on the journey.


According to RCO, the shuttle service was born out of demand from various parties and customers. “Through a direct rail connection from Rotterdam, companies want to transport continental tank containers and short sea containers on a fast track. But also for deep-sea containers in the direction of Hungary and further onwards the train is an interesting option. In the opposite direction, the connections from Rotterdam with the UK, Ireland and Portugal are particularly attractive”, said Nenad Stancic, Department Manager North / West at RCO.

From 4 October, the shuttle (moved by LTE) departs every Thursday morning at 7am and Sunday afternoon at 5pm from the BILK terminal in Budapest. After that, the train traverses Hungary, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands without stops and then arrives at the Botlek Terminal in Rotterdam after about thirty hours. On Tuesday at 2pm and Friday at 11pm the train will return from Rotterdam to the city on the Danube. “For the time being, the shuttle runs twice a week, next year we want to expand that to four round trips”, said Stancic.

The train is suitable for trailers, tank containers and containers of 20, 30, 40 and 45 ft. The train can transport 80 TEUs at a time, and containers can weigh up to 36 tonnes. Stancic: “We transport many different products on the train: from oil and raw materials to consumer goods.

Budapest hub

Budapest is increasingly becoming a transport hub. Situated on the border of the European Union, rail freight from the Asian continent is regularly routed through Ukraine, Hungary and Austria, especially when destined for countries in the south of Europe, such as Italy.

“We are delighted that the years of good cooperation with RCO to open up the connection Austria-Rotterdam is now being extended to Hungary”, adds Matthijs van Doorn, Logistics Manager at the Port of Rotterdam Authority. “This connection is a wonderful addition to our rail network. Not only can our customers now quickly reach Budapest via a direct service, but from there containers can easily be transported to growth economies such as Romania and Turkey. There are also rail connections with China.”

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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