How can 5G pave the future of rail freight terminals?

The digitalisation of rail freight operations. How many times have professionals discussed this issue? And yet, how is it implemented in practice? The under-construction East-West Gate terminal in Fényeslitke, Hungary, might have an answer: the deployment of 5G technologies.

Branded as Europe’s largest intelligent logistics terminal, EWG attempts to live up to the expectations by deploying state-of-the-art technologies to its operations to come. As its executives claim, it will be “the very first European terminal to use an autonomous and private 5G network for internal communications and the operation of technological devices”.

The terminal that will be ready in Q1 2022 will launch this technology in collaboration with Vodafone Hungary and Huawei Technologies Hungary. But what are the main benefits of this move?

On the way to automated operations

Vodafone and Huawei share the tasks of providing the needed software and hardware solutions to use 5G in the EWG terminal. Apart from enabling the creation of a closed, private and safe network to carry out communications during operations in EWG, 5G will also assist in another manner: the technological possibilities it offers will enable to use of the terminal’s overhead cranes remotely.

This means that operations can become fully automated and safer. They will also require less personnel which then can focus on other tasks. Is this what the industry seeks when talking about digitalising rail freight processes? Very likely yes, according to János Tálosi, CEO of EWG, who says that “the terminal’s operational efficiency can be maximised by using 5G technology making freighting faster and more accurate”.

On his behalf, Colin Cai, CEO of Huawei Technologies Hungary, explained the technical particularities of using 5G in rail terminals. “The customised, high data security private 5G network makes wireless real-time remote control on the entire container terminal area possible. Due to the network, efficiency will increase significantly, and working conditions will change. In Fényeslitke, for instance, crane operators do not need to sit on the crane the whole day,” he concluded.

Take a look at the EWG terminal below:

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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