/ 02.05.2013

New Container Hub to Expand the Hinterland Network

The rail operator Metrans has opened its most modern hub terminal for containers in Ceska Trebova (Czech Republic), 180 km to the east of Prague. In doing so, Metrans, a subsidiary of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), has expanded its transport network in Central and Eastern Europe. It is strengthening its position as the leading rail operator in hinterland transportation between these  destination regions and the German seaports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven.


With this second container hub in the Czech Republic, Metrans and Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) are pressing ahead with the expansion of their hinterland transportation activities. The terminal in Ceska Trebova is part of HHLA’s intermodal strategy, with which the Group intends to create a basis for a considerable rise in volumes handled in Germany as well as in Central and Eastern Europe. Česká Třebová benefits from its central location in the pan-European traffic corridor IV and is on route 22 of the Trans-European Network (TEN) running from Nuremberg/Dresden to Prague, Vienna, Budapest and Sofia. From this starting point, Metrans reaches out to the whole of the South-East Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria, providing a link to the German seaports. The terminal in Ceska Trebova has been eased into service gradually since the beginning of the year and has already been handling more than 100 trains a week since the beginning of May. Metrans invested € 16.5 million in the facility’s construction.

Klaus-Dieter Peters
, Chairman of the Executive Board of HHLA: “The new terminal in Ceska Trebova is a key component of our intermodal strategy. We will significantly expand our container transport activities on rails in the hinterland of the German seaports. Having taken the leading position in traffic to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, we now intend to increase our market share in Germany and Austria with each step. With the integrated elements of our intermodal services, we offer a top quality and reliable logistics chain between seaport terminals and destinations in the European hinterland. Not only is this service very attractive from a commercial standpoint, it also strengthens the particularly environmentally friendly transport chain of train and ship. Railways are the future of overland transportation in the modal split.”

The core components of HHLA’s intermodal strategy include:

  • direct trains and shuttles that significantly boost the reliability of railway transportation
  • company-owned, conveniently located hub terminals as hubs for a network of destination stations
  • company-owned carriages and locomotives that improve planning and reduce costs
  • a continuous process chain with company-owned vehicles and facilities which guarantee high quality along the entire transport chain.

Jiri Samek
, General Manager of Metrans, said the following at the inauguration ceremony: “We are proud of having built one of the most modern and efficient hub terminals here in Ceska Trebova. It is of particular benefit to our customers that we are able to handle shuttles at this hub terminal. We are able to cut several hours off the time needed for transit through this terminal. In this way, we are able to further increase the volume of containers to and from the seaports that are handled and thereby expand our market shares.”

In the first phase of construction, Metrans built a terminal in Ceska Trebova with the capacity to process around 150 trains a week and space to store 4,500 standard containers (TEU) initially. The terminal may be expanded over the coming years. A particularly attractive feature of the hub terminal for customers is that it can handle shuttles. Trains no longer need to be presorted at the seaport according to destination; instead they can be loaded with unsorted containers, i.e. for different destinations, and travel to the hub terminal at very short intervals. The containers are there transhipped onto trains to their respective final destinations.

The hub has three portal cranes spanning 90 metres and six sidings, each 630 metres in length. This enables Ceska Trebova to handle block trains, eliminating the need for time-consuming and costly shunting of train carriages. The hub terminal sets itself apart by enabling container trains to travel directly into the terminal with electric locomotives and to leave again once loading and discharging has been completed without the need for shunting. A hub of this kind is of key strategic importance for freight transportation and as a means of linking the Czech Republic with the seaports by rail. For this reason, the construction project is receiving funding from the European Union in the amount of around € 2.7 million.