posted on 5th Nov 2020 22:42
The new Ukrainian Intermodal Company (UIC), established by Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), offers container transport by rail between the Port of Odessa and important economic centres in the country. HHLA is thus expanding its successful intermodal business and extending its product range for fast, reliable and efficient hub-to-hub transport services in seaport-hinterland traffic.
Ukrainian ports have developed very dynamically in recent years. In 2019, the throughput volume at the Black Sea port of Odessa increased by 8.5 % to almost 650,000 TEU. However, at 22 %, rail only accounts for a small share of the container traffic between the port and the Ukrainian hinterland. By comparison, over 46 % of sea containers in Hamburg reach or leave the port in the environmentally friendly manner by rail.
With UIC, HHLA has taken the first step towards a stronger modal shift from road to rail. The rail system offers several advantages: the existing 1,520 mm gauge network optimally connects the largest inland economic centres with the Ukrainian coast. In comparison, large parts of the road network are in need of modernisation. Furthermore, due to the large distances in Ukraine - the Eastern European country is almost twice the size of Germany - rail transport is best suitable to be a sustainable way to transport goods.
Philip Sweens, Managing Director of HHLA International, said: „HHLA possesses extensive expertise in the intermodal business. With an efficient train system based on customer-friendly services, transparent prices, simple booking processes and reliable timetables, we want to tap the considerable potential of the Ukrainian intermodal market. Together with local partners HHLA intends to remove obstacles to rail transport in Ukraine, and to establish and market a reliable range of services.“
Weekly Container Train Services
Until now, container transport by rail in Ukraine was almost exclusively carried out using individual wagons or groups of wagons. The HHLA’s UIC bundles the individual loading to container block trains, thereby increasing the efficiency and reliability of transports. Since early October 2020, UIC offers weekly block train services between Odessa and Ternopil in the Lviv region in Western Ukraine. In November, a weekly service to the industrial centre of Kharkiv, the second largest city in the country, will start operations. It is also planned to establish a weekly container train service between Odessa and Zaporizhia in the east of the country.
In the Port of Odessa, HHLA operates the largest container handling facility in Ukraine: the Container Terminal Odessa (CTO). It has its own rail terminal, which is currently being expanded and where the container block trains are formed. All inland activities are carried out in cooperation with private rail terminals. Additional services container storage and stabling, hub-to-door delivery to the final destination by HGVs or customs clearance are also available.
UIC operates to high, western-oriented quality standards and is a neutral operator, ie. offering all shipping companies and forwarders open access to its intermodal services. The future plan is to expand the offer of regular rail services to other Ukrainian production and consumer centres and to increase the service frequency.