The Strategic Importance of Rail and the East West Gate
Hungary's Pressure Point For EU Compliance
Starting several months before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Hungary has been staking a lot of money and time rejuvenating its standing as a busy freight center back in the 80’s and 90’s before the collapse of Communism. This strategy focuses on a privately funded initiative by East-West Intermodal Logistics Service PLC to build an ultra-modern 5G terminal called the East West Gate in the Hungarian town of Fényeslitke.
Fényeslitke is the technological hub of the East-West Gate terminal, and will become Europe’s first 5G railway terminal where 5G powers logistical operations; for example,. fully automated overhead cranes will be remotely controlled by 5G technology. Two of the vendors doing the work for East-West Intermodal Logistics are Huawei and Vodafone. The goal is for the East West Gate to receive approximately 2,000 containers and 10 trains a day, compared to current maximum of 6 trains a day.
This is the latest evolution of an announcement made on December 16, 2021 of a joint venture between Russia, Hungary, and Austria involving Russian Railways Holdings, CER Cargo Holding (Hungary), and Rail Cargo Group (Austria).
“Together – as three strong partners and with support from politics – we will make rail transport on the New Silk Road even more attractive. Specifically, we will transform the route via Ukraine and Hungary into a second, major axis leading to new capacity, fast transport times and efficient onward distribution in Europe”, said Clemens Först in a Linkedin post.
On June 1st, EuroGate, a Hungarian subsidiary of Germany’s EUROGATE Intermodal GmbH, signed a cooperation agreement with East-West Intermodal Logistics to connect the Hungarian city of Fényeslitke with its rail network. The progress of bringing the terminal online can be followed via the company’s LinkedIn account.
The key to all of the above happening, however, is Ukraine. Ukraine controls the Southern freight corridor towards Central Europe and the Balkans, according to Levente Magyar, Hungary’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Hungary, with its close business and political ties to Russia, has consistently blocked efforts by the EU to increase sanctions.
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