The Port of Hamburg and Metrans Group are intensifying their links with Lithuanian Railways and will focus on "Rail Baltica". Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, and Egidijus Lazauskas, Deputy Director-General and Director Freight Traffic for Lithuanian Railways, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Vilnius to strengthen cooperation on the routes to and from the Port of Hamburg. In addition, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG - HHLA’s intermodal subsidiary Metrans, and Lithuanian Railways signed a Letter of Intent to promote and improve cross-border freight flows.
Seaborne freight transport between the Port of Hamburg and Lithuania set a fresh record last year, with around 128,000 standard containers setting a fresh record and producing a 7.8 percent upswing on the previous year. However, rail also plays a big part in freight services between Hamburg and Lithuania. The partners in the new cooperation attach special importance to implementation of the Rail Baltica and East-West Transport Corridor infrastructure development projects.
Rail Baltica is a rail link planned to run from Warsaw via Kaunas and Riga to Tallinn – with a ferry or tunnel connection to Helsinki. EU member states Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland are involved. Only in June this year, HHLA acquired the largest Estonian container/multi-functional terminal, Transiidikeskuse AS in Muuga, near Tallinn. Against this background, HHLA’s Metrans subsidiary is especially interested in the Rail Baltica rail corridor for boosting links between its new Baltic terminal in Estonia and the Metrans network.
Rail Baltica will be built using the normal 1,435 mm gauge customary in Western Europe rather than the Russian broad gauge of 1,520 mm; it will extend at least 950 kms. Lithuanian Railways transports freight along tracks with both gauges. Freight traffic is mainly with Byelorussia, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Poland, Kazakhstan, China, Turkey, Germany, Scandinavia and Italy.
HHLA’s subsidiary Metrans and Lithuanian Railways will be stepping up cooperation in future at operational level. Metrans Group owns and operates 14 transhipment terminals in the main regions of Europe. Joint intermodal projects will aim to boost the efficiency of rail freight services.
Metrans CEO Peter Kiss: “Through this cooperation with Lithuanian Railways, we aim to further expand our European intermodal network and promote the link between Lithuanian handling facilities and our own. Especially in Eastern regions with broad-gauge networks, we see great potential still. Here the focus of our activities is on opening up new transport corridors and expansion of rail transport between China and Europe.”