Overloaded ports in Germany: METRANS’ two cents
Last week, the German port of Hamburg (HHLA) introduced the highest degree of restriction concerning freight transportation, resulting in many train slots being canceled. METRANS, its intermodal subsidiary, has been one of the parties affected. In an interview with RailFreight.com, the company explains how it has been coping with the situation.
Since 14 July, METRANS was forced to cancel 188 out of 370 of the Northern German ports slots. The German ports are not the only ones affected: 77 out of 201 of the Adriatic slots were canceled as well. Hamburg and Bremerhaven ports are facing chaos following continuous strikes and infrastructure issues, causing severe consequences. On the other hand, METRANS thinks that the problem has much deeper roots.
A chat with a METRANS spokesperson
A spokesperson from METRANS claimed that the root of the problem lies in the loss of service regularity. “One of the basic and at the same time most important principles was regularity. Unfortunately, this regularity has been lost in the past pandemic years and has been replaced by unreliability and irregularity on the waterside in the shipping sector,” they said.
“Both the seaports and the railway infrastructure in the hinterland have a very clearly defined
capacity. There is no room for leaps in height to increase productivity or capacity by tens of percentages,” the spokesperson added.
When it comes to rail freight, the main problem is rail track capacity. “And this is the main
problem of Europe. We have nice proclamations about switching to rail, but the question is how, when you do not get the path on the rail track”.
According to the spokesperson, smaller companies are likely to be less affected by the current situation. “When you offer such a large portfolio of services, as we do in our METRANS network when you serve many different directions, you eventually run out of resources. There is only a limited number of rail cars, locomotives, and qualified staff,” they pointed out.
The METRANS spokesperson highlights that “this current uncertain situation will continue until global conditions change,” concluding that “if the railway infrastructure is overloaded and there is no table to absorb more trains then we all face problems.”