These 4 ports in Europe can be reached with broad gauge hoppers from Ukraine

Image: Majorie van LeijenMajorie van Leijen

DB Engineering & Consulting has identified several routes in Europe that are compatible with Ukrainian hopper cars. Via these routes, a total of four seaports can be reached, it concludes.

The consultancy firm carried out this study on behalf of Ukrainian Railways. The Ukrainian hopper cars are taller and wider than European ones. However, reloading at the border takes a lot of time. The question was therefore which ports could be reached without a switch of equipment.

4 of the 12 ports feasible

Of the 12 selected ports, four ports were identified as ports that could be reached with Ukrainian hoppers: the German ports of Hamburg and Rostock, the Polish port of Gdanks and the Romanian port of Constanta. In total, ten routes have been found feasible. In the study the 19-752-type freight car was considered for the journey.

There were also four countries identified as not feasible, being Italy, Croatia, Slovenia and Czech Republic. This means that nearby ports as Rijeka, Trieste or Genoa are not an option for the hopper cars as a final destination.

“In the next steps, the remaining issues on the technical compatibility with European standards have to be addressed and resolved, such as safety regulations, noise reduction, and certification of bogie-changing systems (ECM certificate)”, commented the German consultancy firm.

Ports identified by DB Engineering Consulting

Hopper versus container

Hopper wagons can accommodate significantly higher quantities of agricultural cargo than containers, and they are therefore considered to be the most suitable transport equipment by most companies. However, there are also those who argue for a switch to containers.

As Marcin Witczak from Laude Intermodal mentioned earlier: “The hopper wagons constitute one of the main capacity and speed restrictions on grain exports by rail. “When using open/hopper wagons, it takes 24 hours to reload a train. However, platforms with containers reduce reloading to two to four hours per train.” He stressed that in order to support overland transport of Ukrainian export products, companies should send containers and compatible equipment to Ukraine.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

1 comment op “These 4 ports in Europe can be reached with broad gauge hoppers from Ukraine”

bönström bönström|21.12.22|15:46

Edge of containers is redundancy.
Accordingly, at (full scale) Case, both alternatives seem “feasible”.
Case, further now should be used for finding Strategy of railways…
Edge of railways, high pay load, shall be benefitted of, as sustainably providing for high capacity – and for low cost – thus to be provided!
However, redundancy and resiliency, now urgently requested, at any high quality supply chain – both, are devastatingly short at railways -thus as well, now to be provided!

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