H.Essers and Rail Cargo Austria collaboration delivers direct rail link Romania-Turkey

H.Essers and Rail Cargo Austria collaboration delivers direct rail link Romania-Turkey

H.Essers and Rail Cargo Austria have joined forces to launch a new and direct rail link between Romania and Turkey. The cargo rail connection had been in the pipeline for some time, but the roll-out has now been accelerated due to the Covid-19 crisis. “Several national borders are closed in these times of crisis,” says Hanno Reeser, Strategic Development Manager H.Essers. “However, rail transport can still go ahead mostly unhindered and is, in this sense, a reliable solution to safeguard the supply chain of our customers.”

H.Essers has been focusing on its sustainability strategy for some time now with the roll-out of the SDG program and its synchromodal solutions. After all, rail is an indispensable asset to make transport solutions climate-friendly and to tackle the increasingly common road congestion problems. A few years ago, for example, a rail link with China was set up specifically for the pharmaceutical sector. “A sustainable alternative to air transport, and faster than overseas transport,” according to Hanno Reeser. “Our new partnership with Rail Cargo Austria now also ensures a connection between Romania and Turkey. H.Essers already has an existing connection between Genk and Curtici, which currently enables a direct rail link between Genk and Turkey. Thanks to the new connection, not only do we succeed in optimising the duration and cost for customers, but it also replaces 9,000 road transports. This allows for a CO2 reduction of no less than 90 percent, as well as a promising new step in optimising our synchromodal network.”

In practice, a train will depart eight times a week from Genk to the Romanian town of Curtici, and then three times a week a train will travel from Curtici to Istanbul. The full lead time from terminal to terminal is therefore less than six days. “From Curtici or Istanbul we can also serve the surrounding areas ourselves, and both locations have a high security terminal,” says Hanno Reeser. “Our intention is to increase the number of departures from Romania to Turkey to a daily frequency.”

Monitoring and intervention

The rail link can be used for a wide range of (hazardous) goods. Hanno Reeser: “We can transport almost any class of hazardous goods, including the transportation of liquid bulk through tank container specialist Huktra, which was recently acquired by H.Essers. It is also important that the entire route is supported by our control tower, which enables our team to monitor the transport from start to finish and intervene if an issue occurs, such as temperature problems. For this purpose we also use our Safebox containers, which are 45-feet containers specially developed by our company for secured/cold chain transport for our strategic segments: chemicals and pharmaceuticals. They are electronically locked and monitored 24/7.”

“During the Covid-19 crisis, the new link has already proved its added value to many customers. The rail links were largely unaffected by the national borders that were closed e.g. for freight transport, and thus safeguarded the supply chains of our customers. For this reason, we are looking into the further expansion of our network to other locations in Italy, France and Spain from Genk.”